Mar 2, 2008

Filter Feeding

You're looking at the rarely seen profile of the megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios). These fish are so rare, that they were only discovered in 1976, and only 39 specimens are known to have been caught or sighted as of 2007, with three recordings on film.

Like the basking and whale sharks, it is a filter feeder, and swims with its enormous mouth wide open, filtering the water for plankton and jellyfish. They can get as big as 18 ft, and weigh as much as 2,600 lbs.

I'm amazed at how large fish and mammals can get filter-feeding on plankton. I've gotten quite large, but I've fed mostly on ice cream and candy and large portions of everything else. It's a mystery to me.

Thanks for the photo, Ida.

Photo source: via Animal Picture Archives


kyrraven said...

I agree, there must be something to the whole plankton-diet... the largest animals in the world are snacking on it!

MJR said...

If you google Megamouth you will get the video--the only one I know--which shows a diver swimming with it. No shots of that huge mouth open, though.
This fish looks so ancient it's amazing.
The first one was found when it swallowed a Navy anchor and was pulled up.

Kathleen said...

I think it's awesome. I had only heard of whale sharks before this blog! ^___^ nice to there are other large planktivorous sharks out there.