The Ultimate Whale Shark Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

The whale shark is the largest shark -- and the largest fish -- in the world, in some cases reaching more than 60 feet (18 meters). Take our quiz to learn more about this gentle giant shark.

How large is the average whale shark?

Whale sharks average 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.6 meters) long, but there are whale sharks as long as 40 to 50 feet (12 to 18 meters). The whale shark is not only the largest shark, it's also the largest fish in the ocean.


Who was the first fish expert to name and describe the whale shark?

In 1828, fish expert Andrew Smith became the first scientist to describe and name the whale shark. Its scientific name is Rhincodon typus.


The _____ Sea is the only warm water ocean or sea that is not home to the whale shark.

The whale shark lives in warm ocean waters throughout the world, except for the Mediterranean Sea.


Which aquarium has tanks large enough to house a whale shark?

The only two aquariums in the world with tanks large enough to house a whale shark are the Georgia Aquarium in the United States and the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa, Japan.


Where is the whale shark's mouth located on its head?

Unlike most sharks whose mouths are located underneath their snouts, the whale shark's mouth is nearly at the tip of its nose.


The whale shark has _____ teeth.

The whale shark has several hundred rows of tiny, hook-shaped teeth inside of its mouth, though it doesn't usually use them for eating.


What color are the spots found on the back of a whale shark?

The whale shark has a distinctive pattern of cream-colored spots and stripes on its back. Its back is bluish grey to brown with thousands of the spots scattered in a unique pattern.


Why do whale sharks have a distinctive pattern of cream-colored spots and stripes on its back?

Scientists aren't sure why whale sharks have such spots and stripes, but they have developed several unproven theories that include protection from the sun's ultraviolet rays.


At what age do whale sharks reproduce?

Since whale sharks probably can't reproduce until they're in their late 20s or 30s, the whale shark stands a good chance of being harpooned before it can ever give birth, leading to reduced numbers.


Female whale sharks reproduce by:

In 1995, scientists captured a pregnant female whale shark, revealing that the whale shark gives birth to live pups (ovoviviparous). This one was pregnant with 300 shark pups, ranging in size from 16 to 24 inches long (42 to 63 centimeters).


How much do whale sharks weigh?

Though it's impossible to actually weigh such a large creature, researchers estimate that larger whale sharks can weigh up to 60 tons (54,400 kilograms).


What does the whale shark eat?

The whale shark eats mostly very small prey such as plankton -- the tiny plants and animals that drift throughout the ocean.


How does the whale shark manage to eat enough small creatures to sustain itself?

Filter feeding is a method of aquatic feeding in which the animal takes in many small pieces of prey at one time. The whale shark simply opens its mouth and draws in large amounts of water, taking in whatever happens to be there.


Through which body part does the whale shark expel the excess water it takes in by filter feeding?

The whale shark has a set of large gills that it uses to expel the excess water it takes in by filter feeding. The gills act like strainers, filtering out the water while keeping in small solid organisms.


What happens when a large piece of ocean matter gets stuck in the gills of a whale shark?

Researchers believe that when large pieces of ocean matter get stuck in the gills of a whale shark, it coughs to clear them.


Which of its senses does the whale shark use to find protein-rich waters?

Whale sharks seem to use their sense of smell to locate protein-rich waters -- its nostrils are located near the top of its wide mouth.


Whale sharks are _____ to humans

Perhaps because they are the largest fish in the ocean and harmless to humans, people seem to love whale sharks, making them a very popular attraction at the Georgia Aquarium.


Which of the following is a popular tourist spot for snorkeling with whale sharks?

Ningaloo Reef, located off the west coast of Australia and Donsol, Philippines, are two of the hottest tourist spots for swimming with whale sharks.


During which months do whale sharks migrate to the Philippines to feed in the plankton-rich waters?

In 2005, between January and June, more than 7,500 tourists flooded into Donsol to swim with the whale sharks, taking advantage of the migration patterns of these gentle creatures.


Which Marine scientist is photographing and analyzing the patterns on the backs of whale sharks in Australia?

Brad Norman, a marine scientist who works at the research institute ECOCEAN, began photographing and videotaping the patterns on the backs of whale sharks in Australia. He and others are using these photos to identify individual whale sharks by the shark's spot patterns.


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