PORT PHILLIP BAY


Basking Shark 

Cetorhinus maximus Gunnerus, 1765

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Vertebrae: 107-110 (precaudal 50-53)

Additional information in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
A diverse group that includes a number of highly specialised sharks, including the Goblin Shark, the Basking Shark, the Megamouth Shark, the White Shark, nurse sharks and thresher sharks. Species are found worldwide in tropical and temperate oceanic and coastal waters. They have two dorsal fins (without spines) and an anal fin, but lack a nictitating membrane on the eye. Most are streamlined, open-water sharks that mostly swim constantly.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Chondrichthyes
Subclass:
Elasmobranchii
Order:
Lamniformes
Family:
Cetorhinidae
Genus:
Cetorhinus
Species:
maximus

General Description

Enormous plankton-feeding shark with 5 extremely long gill slits that extend from the top to the underside of the head, a stout streamlined body, a crescent-shaped tail and the mouth extending well-beyond the eye with rows of minute teeth in each jaw. Dark greyish-brown above, paler below. To 10 m.

Biology

A pelagic shark, often seen in surface waters although also recorded to about 1000 m. It feeds by sieving zooplankton from the water with its bristle-like gill rakers. It is the only species in its Family (monotypic) and is rare in Australia.

Habitat

In coastal areas and in the open ocean, from the surface to a depth of 1000 m.

Open water

Distribution guide

Worldwide. Southern Australia.

Species Group

Sharks and rays Sharks

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

Midwater Surface

Max Size

10 m

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

Considered harmless to humans.

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Vulnerable

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 18 Dec 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6569

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