The whale shark, the sole member of the rhincodon genus, has roughly a 70-year lifespan and is known to grow up to about 40 feet in length. The largest ever caught was a 41.5 footer that had a 23-foot girth and weighed 37,000 pounds.
The largest of all fish is a filter feeder, gathering plankton into its 5-foot-wide mouth and straining it from the seawater with its 20 filter pads. Biologists studying a 19-foot whale shark saw that it spent one-third of its time feeding, and calculated that it strained about 600 cubic meters of water every hour. They further calculated that it consumed about 46 pounds of plankton per day!
As with all creatures that feature a flow-through digestive system, some of what goes in has to come out. And that’s what this unlucky diver found out first-hand as he was videotaping a pair of these beautiful fish.
Really, though, you’d think the guy would understand the dangers of tailgating a whale shark—knowing what we know about what bears do in the woods.