Virgina-based environmental group Conservation International captured this footage of a whale shark sucking baitfish from a hole in a giant fishing net. The video was taken in the Canderawashih Bay in Indonesia.
Whale sharks are the the world’s largest fish. The filter feeder typically eats microscopic plankton. It does this by pulling a big gulp of ocean water into its mouth like a vacuum cleaner. It releases the water through its gills like a strainer.
According to ninemsn’s Nick Pearson, the group was having trouble tagging the fish until they discovered this interesting way of eating.
Marine biologist Heather Spence wrote in an email that this is proof that the whale sharks also eat tiny fish and that they can learn.
John Richardson, Conservation Officer at the Shark Trust, also told us that this feeding behaviour is highly unusual. Richardson says that Cenderawasih Bay whale sharks have also “become accustomed to being hand-fed by the fishermen and appear to be non-migratory.” This is unique since whale sharks generally cover vast distances.
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