There are few things that beachgoers fear more than that dark, triangular shape skimming the water’s surface. With movies like Jaws and the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, sharks have smoothly glided into mainstream culture. Horror stories and newspaper articles of shark attacks abound, s0 it’s no wonder there’s a paranoia surrounding them. However, not every shark is a human-hungry predator. Though Great Whites do make the occasional appearance, most sightings end up being none other than the relatively harmless Basking Shark.
Though they look extremely similar at first glance, there are a few key differences to look for before reporting a sighting. The dorsal fin of the Great White is a sharply-edged triangle. Comparatively, the dorsal fin of the Basking Shark is a triangle as well, it is slightly rounded at the apex.
Basking Sharks can range from brown to gray to black, are often spotted and uniform in color. The Great White by comparison has two distinct color variants of black or gray on top and white on the bottom. Additionally, Basking Sharks have very large, visible gills that encircle their head, whereas the gills of the Great White aren’t as visible.
Great Whites rarely exceed 20 feet in length, so if the shark sighted is larger than that, chances are that it is probably a Basking Shark. Finally, Basking Sharks feed on plankton while Great Whites feast on marine mammals and other sea creatures.
If you spot something alarming, stay alert, cautious and remember these important differences. For more information, watch the below created by the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF). For general shark safety tips during the summer, check out this post.
Tags: #SharkWeek, basking shark, Department of Fish & Game, DFG, Division of Marine Fisheries, DMF, Dr. Greg Skomal, education, EEA, Energy & Environmental Affairs, great white shark, John Chisholm, Shark Week
2015 Agricultural Calendar: June posted on Jun 16
A day old calf at Eastleigh Farm in Framingham. Photo by David Crawston June’s Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was David Crawston, who photographed an adorable day old calf at Eastleigh Farm in Framingham. June is Dairy Month; a time to celebrate and enjoy dairy …Continue Reading 2015 Agricultural Calendar: June
2015 Agricultural Calendar: May posted on Jun 16
Bunches of native Asparagus from the Asparagus Festival at Verrill Farm in Concord. Photo by Nicolas Hyacinthe May’s contest winner was Nicolas Hyacinthe who photographed bunches of native Asparagus from the Asparagus Festival at Verrill Farm in Concord. Asparagus is one of the first spring crops …Continue Reading 2015 Agricultural Calendar: May
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: April posted on May 14
A lamb at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton. Photo by David Cawston April’s contest winner was David Cawston who photographed a spring lamb at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton. The Cummings School of …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: April