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Record-Breaking Whale Shark (40-Foot) Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

Record-Breaking Whale Shark (40-Foot) Spotted in Gulf of Mexico.
Record-Breaking Whale Shark (40-Foot) Spotted in Gulf of Mexico. Image by AL.com via YouTube.

On Sunday, July 16, 2023, A whale shark was seen off the coast of Destin, Fla. In the video below, which was provided by Cory Kauffman, shows the moment Kauffman and fellow fisherman Jacob Nixon saw the whale shark.

The Sight

Record-Breaking Whale Shark (40-Foot) Spotted in Gulf of Mexico. Image by AL.com via YouTube.

On July 16, 2023, fishermen Cory Kauffman and Jacob Nixon experienced an extraordinary sighting of a record-breaking 40-foot whale shark off the coast of Destin, Florida. It was captured on video, giving a glimpse of one of the ocean’s most amazing animals!

Video Documentation

Record-Breaking Whale Shark (40-Foot) Spotted in Gulf of Mexico. Image by AL.com via YouTube.

The video footage, which was provided by Cory Kauffman, shows the incredible moment when the huge whale shark appeared near their boat, leaving them amazed.

The Significance

Record-Breaking Whale Shark (40-Foot) Spotted in Gulf of Mexico. Image by AL.com via YouTube.

This sighting is significant because of the whale shark’s size and also its rarity in the Gulf of Mexico! Whale sharks are found in more tropical and subtropical waters.

Let’s explore the physical features of the Whale Shark…

Q: What is the average size of a whale shark?

A: Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean, they measure between 30 to 40 feet in length.

Whale Shark
Whale Shark. Image by criso via DepositPhotos

Q: How would you describe the whale shark’s skin?

Despite their imposing size, whale sharks are known for their gentle disposition, making them safe to encounter in the wild.

Image by Gerald Schömbs on Unsplash.

A: The whale shark’s skin is thick and tough. It has a pattern of light spots and stripes on a dark background.

whale shark
With over 3,000 tiny teeth, whale sharks possess an impressive dental array, though they primarily feed by filtering plankton and small fish from the water. Image by Gerald Schömbs via Unsplash.

Q: What is notable about the whale shark’s mouth?

Whale shark swimming. Image by Alex Steyn via Unsplash

A: The whale shark has a huge mouth that can be up to 5 feet wide.

Whale shark
Each whale shark sports a unique checkerboard pattern of spots and stripes, aiding researchers in identifying individuals. Image by
Gerald Schömbs via Unsplash.

Q: How does a whale shark’s filter feeding mechanism work?

Whale Shark swallowing a bird. Image Generated by Alana Theron with DALL-E/Midjourney.

A: Whale sharks use gill rakers to filter plankton and small fish. As water passes through their gills, the rakers trap the food particles. They are then swallowed.

Q: Describe the whale shark’s gills.

Whale Shark in sunshine 1.0
Whale Shark in sunshine by Chris – Animals Around The Globe

A: Whale sharks have five large gill slits on each side of their head. These gills are used for breathing and filter feeding.

Q: What is the purpose of the whale shark’s fins?

whales shark asks for help

A: The whale shark’s pectoral fins give stability and help with steering.

Q: How do whale sharks maintain buoyancy?

whales shark asks for help

A: Whale sharks have a large liver filled with low-density oils. This helps them maintain buoyancy and and move through the water.

Q: What is the whale shark’s coloration?

Whale shark swimming
Whale shark swimming

A: Whale sharks are dark gray or blue with white or yellow spots and stripes.

Q: How does the whale shark’s skin texture feel?

bronze whaler shark near auckland
Bronze whaler shark near Auckland-Robert Nyman, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A: The skin of a whale shark is rough and covered in tiny, tooth-like structures called dermal denticles. These reduce drag and protect against parasites.

Q: What is the whale shark’s primary diet?

Diver Giving Ultrasound to Whale Shark Picture by Simon Pierce
Diver Giving Ultrasound to Whale Shark Picture by Simon Pierce

A: Whale sharks feed on plankton, small fish, and occasionally squid.

Q: Describe the whale shark’s eyes.

Whale-Shark-Ultra-Sound-Image-by-Simon-Pierce
Whale-Shark-Ultra-Sound-Image-by-Simon-Pierce

A: Whale sharks have small, round eyes located on the sides of their heads.

Q: How does the whale shark’s sense of smell function?

Bronze whaler shark
A large bronze whaler shark -image by Scuba Gas Junkies via YouTube

A: Whale sharks have an acute sense of smell.

Q: What role do the whale shark’s nostrils play?

Image by Pexels.

A: The whale shark’s nostrils, located near the mouth, are used to detect chemical signals in the water, helping them find food.

Q: How do whale sharks reproduce?

whale shark eating plastic
whale shark eating plastic

A: Whale sharks are ovoviviparous. This means they give birth to live young that hatch from eggs inside the mother’s body.

Q: What is the lifespan of a whale shark?

Whale Shark
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A: Whale sharks have ab estimated lifespan of 70 to 100 years.

Q: How do whale sharks navigate their environment?

whales shark asks for help

A: Whale sharks use a combination of sensory cues. These include their sense of smell and lateral line system.

Bottom Line

Whale shark swimming in blue water
Whale shark swimming. Image via FGBNMS/Eckert – http://flowergarden.noaa.gov/science/research2011.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18920019

Find the link to the video here.

Overall, the sighting of the 40-foot whale shark off the coast of Destin, Florida, is an amazing event that reminds us of the beauty of the ocean’s largest fish. Understanding the physical features of whale sharks strengthens our appreciation of these gentle giants.

Thanks for reading along, for more check out our related article link below!

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