A 30-metre-long male whale shark sidles up to a young woman, in the hope that it will be paired (they are not). In this aerial photo, taken on the Ningaloo Reef in Australia, and is the first known sighting of a whale shark mating ritual.
(Tiffany), A Small/Ningaloo Thereto.
It’s a fact: whale sharks are the largest known fish in the sea, and some of the largest animals on Earth. This means that they need to reproduce.
In spite of this, scientists have never actually seen two whale sharks, mate. This is, in part, because these animals are threatened with extinction; whale sharks are so large-an average of about 32 feet (10 meters) in length and with a weight of tens of thousands of dollars — in fact, they are very vulnerable to human threats, such as drilling, fishing and shipping. Scientists assume that the fish migrate vast distances throughout the world’s tropical oceans, to achieve a special whale shark mating grounds, that researchers have just not yet. [Gallery: Mysterious Lives of Whale Sharks]
Now, thanks to an accidental fly-in Western Australia, the biologists are a step closer to learning how to use whale sharks as the proverbial beast with two humpback whales. While flying over Australia on the Ningaloo Reef in mid-June, and commercial tour pilot, Tiffany, Small, spotted an adult male with the whale sharks trying to catch a young lady’s attention by means of zig-zagging across the sea, for more than an hour, and then, in a vain attempt to mate with her.
Klein pointed out on the frisky whale, and the nearby researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s federal science agency. CSIRO researchers have observed that the festival of the sea, and Small, photographed from above, to effectively deliver the world’s first record of a whale shark mating behavior.
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“Whether he is successful or not, this is the first time we’ve seen an attempt at copulation by a male whale shark is a female,” George Burgess, director emeritus of the Florida Program for Shark Research, told live Science. (Burgess, is not, as witnessed by the recent observations.) “We still don’t know what the mating behavior of a grown-up woman would be, but it is a step forward in our understanding of whale shark reproductive biology.”
The learning in the world of sex
Burgess said the scientists in a few of the important lessons from the attempt to cover it, to begin with, the guy from the shark’s erratic behavior before.
In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the CSIRO researchers have documented that male behavior is “erratic,” swimming in zigzags and, making suddenly a much more in-depth than a full grown man would normally do. Burgess said that, this can be interpreted as the kind of peacocking behavior is seen in many male birds and mammals, which has been designed to give a woman the attention of a potential lover, of your life.
Since the meeting took place very close to the surface, where the whale sharks tend to hang on to the food, plankton, which makes up a large part of their diet, it is also possible that the young woman was feeding it and didn’t even notice that the guy’s a hot-to-trot on the display, Burgess said.
When a male shark that was eventually the approach of the woman, as he swam to the bottom. This is not an unusual thing for sharks, Burgess said, and if the male is mating with one of his two claspers is, in fact, have a very flexible day which will make it possible for the male to approach the friends, from more than one angle. The tips of these male’s claspers were to be distributed, or “flared,” the researchers noted, ” which means that he obviously had a mate in mind.
Because it’s a male shark that was full grown (about 30 feet or 9 metres), however, the woman was still young, and she rejected his advances, and she swam off. What drove the man to try and reproduce this with a young shark who is not yet ready. It can be easy to despair, Burgess said, ” as the Ningaloo Reef is inhabited by a group of mainly juvenile male sharks, which suggests it is not a common reproduction web site.
“This great man was, I could not find an adult female to mate with, and made an attempt on a young woman and how,” Burgess suggested.
Even though the pairing attempt was doomed to failure, however, provides researchers with a unique opportunity to get to know more about one of the most elusive mating rituals in the sea. Because whale sharks are a protected species, researchers are not allowed to catch them for research purposes.
Not all of the fallen play by the rules. In 1995, for instance, a pregnant female whale shark was harpooned by a commercial fishing boat in Australia. Later, when they were analyzed, up to 300 pups were found to develop inside of her. Scientists still do not know how, exactly, these giants of the deep, as you go about the pairing, but, no matter what they do, and it seems to be working.
Originally published on Live Science.
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