Creature Feature - Basking Shark

Creature Feature – Basking Shark

This week’s featured creature is the Basking Shark. This shark species is the second largest fish in our oceans – with the whale shark being the first.

However, they are gentle giants, feeding zooplankton which they filter out of the water at a leisurely pace. They can be easily identified by the large, dark, triangular dorsal fin moving slowly through the water. 

Creature Feature - Basking Shark


Kingdom: Animalia 

Phylum: Mollusca

Class: Chondrichthyes

Order: Lamniformes


Basking Shark Fact File

? Size: Individuals measure between 7-12m long and can weigh up to 6 tonnes

? Distribution: They are coastal-pelagic (open ocean) and can be found worldwide, close to shorelines or in brackish waters

? Diet: This species consumes zooplankton (a collection of small organisms) very small fish, and invertebrates from the water using its large mouth and gill slits to filter out organisms from the water

? Behaviour: These sharks are usually solitary but during summer months in particular they gather around dense patches of zooplankton. Little is known about there behaviour, including reproduction and migration

? IUCN Status: Endangered. Top threats include bycatch and entanglement in fishing lines and collisions with commercial and recreational boats