World's biggest sharks find a new home

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Whale Sharks Making Big Move

The biggest fish in the sea is taking to new waters.

The whale shark can reach more than 40 feet in length and weigh up to 47,000 pounds!

But these massive beings are actually quite harmless, compared to their smaller relatives like the great white.

They use their thousands of teeth to catch only tiny creatures in the water for food.

The gentle giants prefer warmer waters - between 79 and 86 degrees - which is likely why they're being found around the Azores Islands, an area in the central North Atlantic where nine volcanic isles sit.

Researchers decided to look into why the sharks were frequenting the islands more often with the help of tuna fisherman - because whale sharks almost always carry a school of tuna underneath them.

They studied whale sighting over a 16 year period and found a significant rise in 2008 when it was exceptionally warm. More sharks were also sighted around the southernmost region of the islands which has higher water temperatures.

This lead experts to believe the sharks are seeking new waters because of rising sea temperatures caused by climate change. They plan to continue their research to see if the amount of food or mating also plays a role.
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners