Tuesday morning, a dead basking shark was found near the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal in South Boston. Officials from the New England Aquarium found the shark’s carcass floating, after being hit by a container ship.
According to Tony LaCasse, spokesman from the New England Aquarium, the dead basking shark had been spotted two weeks ago. The 25-foot animal laid below the waterline of a container ship.
Apparently, when the container ship was arriving at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, the ship’s prow hit the shark causing its death, however, this information has not been confirmed so far.
Due to it had passed a couple of weeks since the incident, the basking shark carcass allegedly sloughed off when it was found. LaCasse has stated that they are not quite sure about the container hitting the animal, neither if the shark was alive or dead when the ship arrived and that given the state of decomposition of the carcass, it will be almost impossible to find out the cause of death of the shark.
Considering the huge size of the dead shark and the advanced decomposition of its body, aquarium authorities have decided to leave the animal in the water for the moment. In case it became hazardous for water life or humans, it will be immediately removed. LaCasse has said that during the past two weeks, the natural decomposition of the dead shark has advanced very well and that its total disintegration will be happening soon.
As per the superficial examination aquarium biologists carried out on the dead animal, it is believed to be a male one. The creature’s cartilaginous fins let biologists determine it was about the second largest shark in the world, a basking one.
Apparently, during this spring, six dead whales have been found in New England waters due to several reasons, aquarium authorities were somehow relieved when they were called about a new dead sea creature found.
Moreover, LaCasse has said that the aquarium has registered migrations of basking sharks from south to north and that it will be quite possible to appreciate these marvelous creatures late in the summer. This shark species gets close to water’s surface to warm its body with sunlight and to look for some planktons to eat.
The morning of May 31, at about 8.30 a.m., the dead basking shark was noticed by officials from the Boston Police Harbor delegation.
— John GrelandBPD (@captaingreland) May 31, 2016
After whale sharks, basking sharks are the second largest species of its type. Also known as Cetorhinus Maximus, its name stands for its slow moving and for the pleasure time it takes to bask in the sun. Considering the huge size of the basking shark ( 35 feet – 10 meters long) researchers found strange how this shark emerges on water’s surface for sunbathing. It has even been spotted jumping out of the water, in an attempt to get rid of the parasites inhabiting in their body.
Another distinctive feature of basking sharks is its rough skin. Also, they are very tolerant animals in front of human presence. This has let researchers and aquanauts swim really near from them in order to observe how they behave in their natural habitat.
The Cetorhinus maximus, estimated to weigh 3 or 4 tons, can be found in different waters all across the world: Mediterranean sea, Atlantic ocean, the Pacific’s, among others. However, this type of shark prefers primarily warm temperatures. They get close to shorelines, hence, even if this shark has been considered as a mysterious one, people have witnessed the wonder of this sea creature when it gets to surface to bask in the sun. This is why it is so common to appreciate them during warm seasons, in warm waters, such as those from Hawaii.
Depending on the year’s season, these sharks migrate for reproduction and to look for better water temperatures. In fact, during winter months, they get to deeper waters to benefit from warmer climates.
Sometimes referred to as a filter feeder, the basking shark also goes to water’s surface to feed. Its favorite meal is zooplankton, however, in order to feed they swim with their enormous mouth (1 meter in width) open, so, remains in waters are completely eliminated when the basking sharks go for food. They have no big teeth, on the contrary, they have diminutive ones, which makes surface’s plankton their preferred food. Furthermore, it is known that zooplankton is not very fast swimmers, so, the basking shark uses its slow swimming technique to catch its prey.
Because of it huge size, basking sharks are usually confused with white sharks. Even if both of them are big sea creatures, white sharks are harmful if they feel treated by humans, whereas basking sharks are harmless to humans.
When most sharks travel alone, the basking sharks form small groups to travel across the ocean or to emigrate when it is time to do it. Basking sharks shoal does not exceed the amount of 100 members.
Even if researchers have carried out several researchers about the basking sharks, there are still essential features about this species that could not have been concretized yet. Thus, the second largest shark in ocean remains in mystery.
Source: Boston Herald