Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus)

IUCN Red List Status: vulnerable

Maximum length may be up to 36 feet, making them the second largest shark!

Have very large gills slits which almost completely encircle the head

Thought to live up to 50 years

Highly migratory and found in northern and southern hemispheres in warm temperate waters, often close to land, or associated with continental shelves

Recently it was shown that migrations can be transequatorial, with some sharks tagged off of Cape Cod moving into Southern Hemisphere waters near South America!

One of three filter-feeding, plankton-eating sharks

Often deep in the winter, and in surface waters in the summer, feeding on plankton

This surface behavior is what gives the name “basking”, as in basking in the sun!

Vulnerable due to capture as bycatch

In the same classification order group as the white shark and mako species