Whale shark secrets finally revealed

Sep 26, 2005

Researchers in Belize using electronic tagging on whale sharks have finally solved a marine mystery and discovered where the sharks find food.

Scientists say the 65-foot-long whale sharks -- the world's largest fish -- dive nearly a mile in search of food.

The new insight into whale shark behavior is the result of research conducted at the Belize Barrier Reef, the world's second largest barrier reef system, the BBC reported Monday.

"Our study showed that sharks dive much deeper than previously believed, reaching depths of over 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) in search of food," said Rachel Graham of the U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

Water that deep is only a few degrees above freezing and that explains why tropical whale sharks have an insulating layer of fat just below their skin -- a fact that has puzzled scientists for years.

The electronic tags the scientists attach to the fish record temperature, water pressure and light level and then beam the data back via satellite, the BBC said.

The findings appear in the Royal Society's journal Interface.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: SpaceX launches supplies to space station

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Robot gliders roam seas

May 03, 2013

(Phys.org) —Once the robotic gliders scour the ocean searching for potential harm to sea life, the data is sent to David Caron, professor of biological sciences in USC Dornsife, and other marine biologists. ...

Giant kraken lair discovered

Oct 10, 2011

Long before whales, the oceans of Earth were roamed by a very different kind of air-breathing leviathan. Snaggle-toothed ichthyosaurs larger than school buses swam at the top of the Triassic Period ocean food ...

Dolphins, aliens, and the search for intelligent life

Aug 30, 2011

How do we define intelligence? SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, clearly equates intelligence with technology (or, more precisely, the building of radio or laser beacons). Some, such as the ...

Recommended for you

Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

2 hours ago

The discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the "habitable" zone of a distant star, though exciting, is still a long way from pointing to the existence of extraterrestrial life, experts said Friday. ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

2 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

4 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

4 hours ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

6 hours ago

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...