Cetorhinus maximus
Distinguishing Characteristics:

  • Large, thick body, with a pointed snout
  • Enormous gill slits that run from the back to the middle of the throat
  • Strong caudal keels
  • Large tail, in the shape of a crescent
  • Color mottled bluish-gray or grayish brown to slate gray or black above and paler below

Habitat: From close inshore to offshore at depths of 1,600 feet or greater
Size: Approximately 32 feet; second in size only to the whale shark
Note: The basking shark is often seen lying near the surface of the water with its dorsal and caudal fins exposed or with its belly up.

Basking sharks are filter feeders with tiny teeth.