Whale sharks are the largest know fish in the ocean growing up to 20m in length! These gentle giants feed on small fish and plankton and come to the Ningaloo Reef between April and July to feed. Approximately 85% of the whale sharks observed on the Ningaloo Reef are juvenile males. Their arrival coincides with the mass coral spawning that occurs on the reef in April and they spend a lot of their time feeding.
The whale shark has been a great mystery to humans since they were first described in 1828 in South Africa and we are still finding out important information regarding their reproduction, migrations and behaviours. One of the reasons these sharks remain a mystery to us is that they are able to swim down to depths greater than we can observe.
The beautiful patterns on the whale sharks can be used to identify individuals, just like your fingerprint can identify you. Tour companies like ours are helping to gather important information by taking photos of the individuals we swim with and passing them along to researchers. This data collection method will hopefully help us to gather more information on migration patterns and the life history of these animals.