Freshwater Basking Shark
Jan 25 2022
Freshwater basking shark!
We came across this image (left) on social media recently and couldn’t help but be fascinated by it! Some we had never seen before, was it some kind of weird basking shark abomination!? It reminded us so much of Alex Mustard’s classic basking shark image, even down to the pectoral fins, gill rakers and eyes. Of course, in turn, they look very similar to our logo too!
The fish is called an American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) which is a freshwater fish that lives in America and are closely related to sturgeon. They grow up to around 1.5m and weigh nearly 30kg. However, it’s amazing how many adaptations they have similar to a basking shark.
- Its skeleton is cartilaginous (i.e like a shark!)
- It filter feeds on zooplankton by passive ram filtration (the same as a basking shark)
- Its rostrum and body are covered in electro sensors which are similar to the ampullae of Lorenzini
This youtube video is wild – check out how they feed in an aquarium – lose the large rostrum and you could easily think it was a tiny basking shark!