An Australian study has found that whale sharks are the world’s largest carnivores, the newspaper reported.Guardian“.
In a study published in the journal Marine Biology, researchers made a surprising discovery about the feeding habits of whale sharks, giving them a major global title for the largest fish in the ocean.
It turns out that the giant fish usually enjoys eating seaweed and large amounts of krill, meaning it has officially made the Kodiak bear the world’s largest carnivore.
Krill are a type of marine arthropod found in Antarctic waters. It is a shrimp-like crustacean, and its density sometimes reaches 10,000 to 30,000 per cubic meter.
Scientists made the discovery while studying whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.
“Everything we thought we knew might not be true,” says Mark Meegan, a fish biologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
The scientists analyzed potential food sources for amino acids and fatty acids, from small plankton to large seaweeds, and then looked at what was found in skin samples from whale sharks.
“This study indicates that they eat a fair amount of plant material, actually more than krill,” Migan said.
And, “These are very large animals, and when an animal is big, it needs a lot of food.”
Another part of the study involved collecting and testing the whale shark’s feces, and the results showed that it was eating the krill, albeit at low levels.
“Whale sharks have gotten around this evolutionarily by being able to digest their oral marine arthropods rather than expel them,” Michonne said.
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