Basking Sharks, the Huge Disappearing Fish (Pictures)

May 8, 2009 / No Comments

The world’s second largest fish, basking sharks are some of the scariest ocean creatures you’ve ever seen. A gigantic 35-feet long swimmer, the basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) never tell when and where they leave on a vacation. Spending time from New England to the Bahamas and across the equator to South America, experts have been annoyed by not knowing where they hide.

basking shark Basking Sharks, the Huge Disappearing Fish (Pictures)

Basking Sharks - Elusive, Giant Fish

That’s why marine biologist Greg Skomal and his team attached complicated tracking devices and satellite technology to 25 basking sharks off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Only to find out that during winters, the basking sharks make vast migrations to the South to find deep, warm-water hideouts.

basking sharks 2 Basking Sharks, the Huge Disappearing Fish (Pictures)

Basking Shark, off the Isle of Skye

With no hint of the adventurousness of these giant fish, recent findings show that basking sharks traveled at depths of between 200 meters (650 feet) and 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) and reached the coast of North Florida, the Cayman Trench in the Caribbean, the Guyana coast and the Sargasso Sea. And one have even been spotted hanging out near the mouth of the Amazon River. Which is far far away from “home”.

Basking shark model at the National Museum in Cardiff

Basking shark model at the National Museum in Cardiff

However, I can’t help but wonder… Will these findings help us better protect the basking sharks? And also, would humans appreciate being tagged and studied out? In detail? It’s a fascinating animal, but we’d much rather leave the basking sharks alone and do nothing on our part that would do harm to them.

Basking shark

Basking shark

Basking Shark Head Close-up

Basking Shark Head Close-up

Images courtesy of Wikipedia (1+2), antonystanley, museumwhales, cathrin-peter.