Photo: Georgia Aquarium Take this quiz from Georgia Aquarium to test your knowledge of whale sharks. START THE QUIZ Question 1 of 9 Score: 0 Photo: orifec_a31/Shutterstock A whale shark is: Whales are mammals, but remember, a whale shark is a shark, not a whale. If you think of them as whales, it’s likely because of their massive size. Nurse and zebra sharks are some of their closest relatives. A fish A mammal Other NEXT QUESTION Question 2 of 9 Score: 0 Photo: Georgia Aquarium The longest accurately measured whale shark was how long? The average length is between 18 and 32.8 feet (5.5 to 10 meters). The whale shark is the largest fish in the world and the largest fish known to have lived on this planet. Because of its size and cartilaginous skeleton, it does not fossilize well. For obvious reasons, it’s very difficult to weigh accurately. 29 feet 34.5 feet 41.5 feet 61.7 feet NEXT QUESTION Question 3 of 9 Score: 0 Photo: Fata Morgana by Andrew Marriott/Shutterstock Whale sharks mostly eat: Whale sharks are filter feeders, not predators. A whale shark filters food from the water by “cross-flow filtration,” which means that when the shark gulps water, the food particles pass through the filter to the back of the mouth while the water is directed away through the gills. A spinning ball of food at the back of the throat grows larger and larger until it triggers a swallowing reflex. Fish eggs, jellies (“jellyfish”), krill and tiny fish Seals, dolphins and sea lions Large fish and occasionally humans NEXT QUESTION Question 4 of 9 Score: 0 Photo: David Evison/Shutterstock Whale sharks have big mouths but tiny: Whale sharks have huge mouths, which can reach up to 4 feet (1.4 meters) across. But their throats are very narrow — about the size of a quarter. Their teeth (they have about 300 rows of them) are also tiny. The teeth point backwards and are thought to have no function in feeding. Gills Throats Pectoral fins NEXT QUESTION Question 5 of 9 Score: 0 Photo: khlongwangchao/Shutterstock Whale sharks are: Experts estimate there may be only half as many whale sharks now as there were 75 years ago. The three biggest threats to whale sharks, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, are fishing (legal and illegal), entrapment in fishing nets and strikes by ships. Abundant Vulnerable to becoming endangered Endangered NEXT QUESTION Question 6 of 9 Score: 0 Photo: Georgia Aquarium Whale sharks prefer to live in: Whale sharks are found in tropical and temperate waters around the globe. The whereabouts, movements, and behaviors of adult whale sharks have long remained a mystery. Georgia Aquarium is among the organizations that are studying whale sharks to understand them better and help conserve them. Tropical and temperate waters Cold, icy waters NEXT QUESTION Question 7 of 9 Score: 0 Photo: License: CC0 Public Domain/http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/ Female whale sharks: A whale shark pup forms within an egg inside the mother’s uterus, where the egg hatches. Once the pup reaches term, it’s released into the sea fully formed. Newborns measure 21 to 25 inches (53 to 64 centimeters) long. The only litter size that has ever been documented was more than 300 pups. Almost nothing is known about the early life stages of whale sharks. Give birth to shark pups Lay eggs in the sand or water NEXT QUESTION Question 8 of 9 Score: 0 Photo: Nick Johanson/Shutterstock The whale shark breaches: Experts think the whale shark is unable to breach (leap out of the water), unlike the basking shark and certain large whales. Rarely Often Never NEXT QUESTION Question 9 of 9 Score: 0 Photo: Georgia Aquarium Georgia Aquarium is: Having whale sharks in an aquarium setting is a fantastic research opportunity. Aquarium veterinary staff and researchers study the whale sharks in the Ocean Voyager exhibit, including their growth, behavior, health and genetics. Since 2008, Georgia State University has collaborated with Aquarium staff and volunteers to observe and record the individual sharks’ behavior. This data will help them understand and better care for sharks on exhibit, as well as improve the interpretation of behaviors seen in the field. One of just a few aquariums in the U.S. to display whale sharks The only aquarium in the Western Hemisphere to display whale sharks GET YOUR SCORE You scored out of 9 Photo: Georgia Aquarium TRY AGAIN Try your knowledge on these other quizzes. Find out your ocean spirit animal Can You Identify These Aquatic Creatures? How Much Do You Know about Georgia Aquarium?