Whale Shark :
Our world’s oceans are the hoard of mysteries, home to the world’s small creatures to the largest species our planet has ever seen. And researchers are trying to solve as many mysteries as possible.
Whale Shark, the largest fish existing is one of those mysteries scientists are excited to solve. Even though these mighty giants have been known to science for centuries, the knowledge we have on them is only a handful because of their elusiveness in the unending vast stretch of blue.
These sharks mainly feed on tiny zooplanktons and were believed to be carnivorous. But the recent studies revealed something that surprised the scientific community.
Whale Shark is an Omnivore!
Mark Meekan, a marine biologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Perth, along with his colleagues found that the whale shark long thought to be a carnivore also eats and digests algae.
More for you:
> Space Train: Japan’s Mega Plan To Moon…
> Orcas Hunting An Adult Blue Whale Recorded For The 1st Time…
> Exoplanet Count Surpassed 5k For the 1st Time…
How did they find it?
It is hard for science experiments on the ever-shifting waters.
Whale Shark, the largest living fish on earth is harder to encounter as this fish spends most of its life in the deep ocean.
However, the team did not want a fully grown 50-ft-long (19-ton) whale shark on the table but a few grams of its skin tissues.
Upon analyzing the chemical makeup of these tissues they found the tissues rich in arachidonic acid, an organic molecule found in brow algae of the sea called sargassum.
The team said that this molecule cannot be synthesized by the whale shark and probably got it by digesting algae. But the team isn’t clear about the effects of arachidonic acid on a whale shark.
However, scientists found algae before in the stomach of beached whale sharks. To be sure that this wasn’t accidental ingestion, the team collected tissue samples from 17 different individuals though it wasn’t an easy task.
Surprisingly, all the tissue samples had a high concentration of arachidonic acid. The research report was published in ecology.
This new evidence concretes the evidence of green nutrients found in these shark skin by an independent group off the coast of Japan.
However, some scientists are still skeptical of Meekan’s finding on whale sharks as they think that it could be accidental.
Regardless of the speculations, a whale shark can digest the green nutrient, with the obtained tissue samples the team is looking up to unravel more about these gentle giants of the ocean.