24 Jun 10 Facts whale sharks and sea lion
1- The whale shark is the largest living shark.The name “whale shark” comes from the fact these animals are so large (as big as whales) and that they filter-feed (like large humpback whales). However, they have cartilage instead of bone – a true shark.
2- A whale shark can be identified by its distinctive patterning of light spots and stripes over a dark background, fading to a light color on the underside. This natural camouflage allows it to ‘blend’ into its surroundings when viewed from any angle.
3- The species was first described in 1829 from a specimen caught off South Africa.
4- In the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the whale shark is listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’. For more information: http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/details.php/19488/all
5- Whale sharks are protected in Australia, Honduras, India, the Maldives, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and the USA.
6-t is believed that whale sharks can reach a length of 20m, with a specimen of this size reported from Taiwan in 2002. The main size encountered in ecotourism operations range from 5 – 8m.
7-Whale sharks have about 3000 teeth in each jaw, but these are very small (less than 6mm in length) and not used for feeding.
8-Whale sharks feed on very small prey (e.g. krill, jellyfish, small fish etc.) that they ‘filter’ from the water using the fine mesh of their gill-rakers. They must constantly feed, consuming large quantities of these small animals in order to survive. Whale sharks are often found in areas where large concentrations of this food can be found, like La Paz bay.
9- One whale shark was tracked for over 13000km across the Pacific from Mexico to Tonga. Another shark was tracked from Ningaloo Marine Park to Indonesia. Many other long- distance travels have been documented: e.g. between the countries of Mexico, Belize, Honduras (Central America) and between Seychelles, Kenya and Thailand.
10-Whale sharks have been recorded swimming to depths greater than 1500m, where the water temperature can be less than 4°C.
1- Sea Lions are pinnipeds, together with fur seals they belong the family “Otariidae”
2- Average life spam is 20 years
3- Sea Lions and Seals are two different animals. Sea Lions have external ear flaps, can walk on land using all four flippers and use their front flippers to swim. Seals, on the other hand, move on land by bouncing on their bellies, and use their hind flippers to swim.
4-Sea Lions are quite social, and are party animals, in fact, Sea Lions are rarely found alone. They live much of their lives in a big group that may have thousands of members.
5- Male Sea Lions are called “bulls” while female Sea Lions are referred to as “cows”.Their little ones are called pups.
6- Sea Lions are extremely fast swimmers and can move around at 16 knots, or 30 km/hour, in water. At their fastest speed of about 30 knots, they are doing about 56 km/ hour.
7- There are a lot of threats to Sea Lions: Great White, Hammerhead and Blue sharks, as well as orcas, occasionally hunt Sea Lions. Water pollution, marine debris, and competition for food, and habitat, created by people also endanger Sea Lions.
8- Species of Sea Lions can be found on the Bering strait, in Australia, in New Zealand, in South America and in California.
9- Like most mammals, Sea Lions are also remarkably intelligent. They also have an excellent sense of sight, hearing and smell.
10- Female Sea Lions carry their young for up to 12 months before giving birth.They usually give birth between the months of May and July.