Whale Sharks Can Be Indicator Species

by Chris Anderson on April 25, 2023
Are you familiar with Whale Sharks? These are the largest fish in the world. They are 40 feet long and have white spots. These markings are unique to each Whale Shark and can be used to identify individuals. 1
Whale Sharks are filter feeders and are found in tropical waters. This quality of filter feeding is something they have in common with whales. They will eat plankton, krill, and small fish.2 They are an indicator species – which means that we can look to them to see how a habitat is doing. For example, if we see a lot of Whale Sharks, it’s a good indicator that there’s a bunch of plankton around – which is a good sign of a healthy ocean.1

They are endangered. 1 Some big threats to them include: 1&2 
  • Fishing gear
  • Boat strikes
  • Pollution
  • Hunting
This species has a long lifespan – they can live to be 70! Because of this, they mature later in their lives, which is a problem when they have a decreasing population trend. They can’t reproduce quickly enough to recover from some of these threats.2 
Ready to learn about more animals? 
We have all kinds of animals you can learn about with our puzzles! Learn about sloths, tigers, owls, wolves, cows, and more! This is a perfect hands-on activity that will build appreciation for animals and is a great way to start a conversation about their habitats, the food chain, and more! 
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1.     https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/whale-shark
2.     https://www.americanoceans.org/blog/why-are-whale-sharks-endangered/
3.     https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/facts/whale-shark?loggedin=true


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