Basking Shark
(Cetorhinus maximus)
aww, just a big softie...

When I was 9 or so, I was swimming off my beach in Marshfield, MA. Everyone started screaming. I looked out to sea, and there were 2 huge fins cutting though the water. Everyone ran. I stayed in, because I knew it was a basking shark, sunning itself on the surface (and because even then I was a crazy marine biologist.) Basking sharks are big...with some reported to be 50 feet long. The cool thing is that they eat only plankton.Their mouths balloon out to collect water, and they use gill rakers to filter out the food. Like most big, sluggish animals, they have been prey to a lot of hunting, and their numbers have decreased. Once prized for the oil in their livers, now they are hunted for their fins, used for soup. They are one of my favorite creatures in the ocean.

Take me back to Species of the Week!
Take me back to the main page!