Researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) concluded that the whale shark is the largest omnivorous on the planet. The finding was confirmed when they examined the eating habits of this species.
Researchers have made a surprising discovery about the eating habits of whale sharks, giving another world title to the largest fish in the ocean, according to a new study published in the journal Ecology.
These giants of the sea regularly enjoy seaweed salad with large servings of krill, which means they have officially superseded the Kodiak bear as the world’s largest omnivore. that is, Animals that feed on both plants and the flesh of other animals.
Scientist He made the discovery while studying whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia., And they say there is reason to reconsider what exactly sustains this large species.
“What we thought we knew may not be true,” said Dr Mark Meakan, a fish biologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
An evolutionary factor in whale shark size
Scientist Meticulously analyzed potential sources of food, from small plankton to large algae, looking for amino acids and fatty acids. So they looked at what was in the whale shark skin samples.
“This study shows that they actually feed on more plant material than krill,” Meakan said, noting that the size of the whale shark prompted an evolutionary response, which is similar to the brown Sargassum marine. Algae has turned into a bycatch. Mango in Ningaloo, in food.
“But it takes a lot of energy to fill those mouths that open like huge nets in the water. There is also a lot of algae in that stomach full of food, and what does it do, vomit? From an energy point of view, it will be very expensive because it has expended all the energy gathering food,” he says.
“whale shark” They have easily solved this from an evolutionary sense by being able to digest algae., They are making bycatch a part of their diet,” says Meakon.
Another part of the study involved collecting and analyzing whale shark excrement, and the results showed that they did indeed eat krill, but they did not metabolize it to any degree.
“If they had evolved to just eat krill, they would be much less efficient than we expected,” Meakan concluded.