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RAID Whale Shark Diver

Whale Shark Speciality (Diver training programme): For certified divers and Snorkelers. This course is designed to introduce divers to the whale shark species and help the people develop an understanding and knowledge of whale shark biology and behaviour as well as learn techniques for diving with whale sharks.

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a slow-moving, filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 m (41.5 ft) and a weight of about 21.5 t (47,000 lb).[8] The whale shark holds many records for sheer size in the animal kingdom, most notably being by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate. It is the sole member of the genus Rhincodon and the only extant member of the family Rhincodontidae which belongs to the subclass Elasmobranchii in the class Chondrichthyes. Before 1984 it was classified as Rhiniodon into Rhinodontidae. The species originated about 60 million years ago.[9]

The whale shark is found in open waters of the tropical oceans and is rarely found in water below 21 °C (70 °F).[2] Modeling suggests a lifespan of about 70 years, but measurements have proven difficult.[10] Whale sharks have very large mouths and are filter feeders, which is a feeding mode that occurs in only two other sharks, the megamouth shark and the basking shark. They feed almost exclusively on plankton and are not known to pose a threat to humans.

The species was distinguished in April 1828 after the harpooning of a 4.6 m (15 ft) specimen in Table Bay, South Africa. Andrew Smith, a military doctor associated with British troops stationed in Cape Town, described it the following year.[11] The name "whale shark" directly refers to the fish's size, being as large as some species of whales[12] and also that it is a filter feeder like baleen whales.



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