Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Whale Sharks Feeding Like Goldfish

Now and then I get solicited by strangers to blog about something that they want me to blog about. Usually it seems like a ruse for them to get free publicity, but occasionally they have something that I am actually excited to share. E.g., this photo from National Geographic, taken by photographer Michael Aw:


These are whale sharks looking for handouts from fishermen in Indonesia. It's funny to me to see these big, slow, cold-blooded animals, which I have always considered to be lazy, plankton-straining feeders, actively snapping at food from the surface like giant versions the goldfish in a pond. Cute.

Nat Geo's caption for the picture is: Vying for position under a bagan, male whale sharks—two of about twenty that visit this spot—scramble for a snack. Typically an adult shark might cruise night and day at a sedate one to three miles an hour, sucking in enough seawater to feed itself. This group likely spends a lot of time in Papua's Cenderawasih Bay, making it one of a few places where the species gathers year-round. Scientists hope to cooperate with locals to launch studies of the giants.

If you want to see the rest in this photo series, you can go to


Johnny Douglass said...

Jeez! It was probably one of these things that swallowed Noah rather than a whale.

Lady Notorious said...

Thanks so much for posting that series of pictures, they were amazing. I can't get over the size of their mouths when they open them up all the way to feed.

And their spotted skin is gorgeous. Great shots!

James Douglass said...

Dad- Interesting hypothesis. You're quite the biblical scholar! ;) Maybe you should volunteer to help the archeologists from Liberty University in their search for Jonah's Ark.

Lady Notorious- Cool, I'm glad you like 'em. I'm sure looking forward to seeing your fiddler crab pictures from Edisto Island. :)