Science

Whale shark: the largest omnivore in the world

Whale shark: the largest omnivore in the world
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Researchers have confirmed that there are vegetables in the diet of the largest fish in the world. Well, the whale shark feeds on algae . In addition to being the largest fish in the world, the animal is also the largest omnivore on planet Earth . Larger animals have always been herbivores on land, while things change at sea. Huge cetaceans and filter fish that had a carnivorous diet, now it turns out that they eat vegetables instead.

The huge whale shark with the scientific name Rhincodon typus is known for its krill -based diet . These are very small shrimps that the predator filters from the water with its large jaws. Krill is not always available at sea, so scholars have further investigated this diet. They wanted to discover the real whale shark diet of Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia . The collection of various samples of coral reef food sources took place. These are small plankton and larger algae. A comparison of amino acids and fatty acids with those of whale sharks was made.

So it turned out that the shark’s tissues had compounds belonging to the algae. The latter were of the brown seaweed type , Sargassum, very common on the spot. A kind of alga that detaches itself from the coral reef by floating on the surface. The analysis of the faeces and the presence of living prey on that type of alga have given confirmation. These vegetables, in fact, are the dietary diet of the whale shark.

Another herbivorous species is the caped hammerhead shark . Its diet is made up of over 60% of algae and marine plants. The whale shark, however, has a peculiarity. It is able to digest algae precisely because of the way it gets its food, as it does so by swimming with its mouth open.

  • The whale shark also eats algae and is therefore the largest omnivore in the world (kodami.it)
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