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Cetorhinidae - basking sharks

There is one species in this family of sharks. Basking sharks are found in cool and temperate regions of all the world's oceans. Basking sharks are the second largest living fish, only the whale shark is larger. Adult basking sharks can be 20-30 feet long. Basking sharks have five pairs of very long gill slits that curve all the way over the back of their heads! They have small eyes, two dorsal fins, and an anal fin. Basking sharks have huge mouths that extend past their eyes! They have lots of very small hooked teeth. Basking sharks are filter feeders. That means they swim through the water with their big mouths wide open and take in huge amounts of water. Food like small crustaceans, fish eggs, and larvae is collected in gill rakers in their gill slits! They feed at or near the surface of the water, usually close to the shoreline. Basking sharks are sometimes called sunfish, sailfish sharks, bone sharks, or big mouth sharks.

World Status Key
Least Concern Least Concern Near Threatened Near Threatened Vulnerable Vulnerable Endangered Endangered Critically Endangered Critically Endangered
extinct in the wild Extinct in the Wild extinct Extinct
Status and range is taken from ICUN Redlist. If no status is listed, there is not enough data to establish status.


US Status Key
Threatened in US Threatened in US Threatened in New Hampshire Threatened in NH Endangered in US Endangered in US Endangered in NH Endangered in NH Introduced Introduced
Status taken from US Fish and Wildlife and NH Fish and Game

  New Hampshire Species

 

 North/Central American Species

Basking Shark- Cetorhinus maximus Vulnerable   None

Other Species Around the World

Africa Africa Asia Asia Australia Australia/Oceania Europe Europe North America North/Central America South America South America New Hampshire Species NH Species
Arctic OceanArctic Ocean atlantic OceanAtlantic Ocean indian OceanIndian Ocean southern oceanMediterranean/Black Sea pacific oceanPacific Ocean

Basking Shark- Cetorhinus maximus Vulnerable Africa Asia Australia Europe North America South America New Hampshire Species atlantic Ocean indian Ocean southern ocean pacific ocean
   

Additional Information

Key: profile Profile Photos Photos Video Video Audio Audio

Basking Shark- Cetorhinus maximus profile Photos Vulnerable Africa Asia Australia Europe North America South America New Hampshire Species atlantic Ocean indian Ocean southern ocean pacific ocean
The basking shark is one of only three plankton-feeding shark species.
Source: Basking Shark Project Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

Basking Shark- Cetorhinus maximus profile Photos Vulnerable Africa Asia Australia Europe North America South America New Hampshire Species atlantic Ocean indian Ocean southern ocean pacific ocean
Basking sharks travel alone, in pairs, or in schools of up to 100 members.
Source: Enchanted Learning Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Elementary School Teacher Section: No

Basking Shark- Cetorhinus maximus profile Photos Vulnerable Africa Asia Australia Europe North America South America New Hampshire Species atlantic Ocean indian Ocean southern ocean pacific ocean
Basking sharks sometimes enter bays and estuaries.
Source: Florida Museum of Natural History Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: Yes

Basking Shark- Cetorhinus maximus profile Photos Vulnerable Africa Asia Australia Europe North America South America New Hampshire Species atlantic Ocean indian Ocean southern ocean pacific ocean
Basking sharks travel at a rate of around three miles per hour
Source: BBC Nature Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No