Whale sharks are the world’s largest omnivores, scientists reveal

Whale sharks are the largest shark species in the world, and now scientists have discovered that giant sharks are even more amazing food machines than previously thought. In addition to gobbling up large bites of krill—small shrimp-like crustaceans—whale sharks also ingest large helpings of seaweed, enabling the aquatic giants to officially topple Kodiak bears (The Middendorff bear) as the largest omnivores in the world.

The researchers made the discovery by analyzing the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) skin samples collected near the Ningaloo Reef of Western Australia. According to National Ocean Service. Until now, scientists thought the gentle giants were primarily filter feeders, opening their cavernous mouths to swallow roughly 21,200 cubic feet (600 cubic meters) of water every hour. Then, by draining the water through their gills, the sharks are left with morsels of plankton, shrimp, small fish and crustaceans to devour.

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