With Whale Sharks, Males Grow Faster, But Females Grow Bigger

2020/10/08 17:35

Today's Vocabulary

1. nutrients (n) 
any substance that plants or animals need in order to live and grow

2. findings (n) 
a piece of information that is discovered during an official examination of a problem, situation, or object

3. breed (v) 
to keep animals for the purpose of producing young animals in a controlled way

4. biology (n)
 the scientific study of the natural processes of living things


5. remarkable (adj)
unusual or special and therefore surprising and worth mentioning

6. marine (n)
a soldier who is trained especially for military operations on land that begin from the sea

7. research (n) 
a detailed study of a subject, especially in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding

8. maturity (n) 
the quality of behaving mentally and emotionally like an adult

With Whale Sharks, Males Grow Faster, But Females Grow Bigger

New research has provided surprising details about the biology of Earth’s largest fish, the whale shark. Scientists say that female whale sharks grow more slowly but reach a much larger size than males.

Males were found to grow faster than females. They reached around eight meters in length at about 30 years old. At that age, they reach sexual maturity, meaning the fish were able to produce young. Females grew larger than males. Females reached about 14 meters at about age 50, when they reached sexual maturity.

Mark Meekan, a marine biologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science,  described whale sharks as “remarkable.” He noted that females give birth to many young: “up to 300 at one time.” For this reason, Meekan said, female sharks probably need to be very large.

Whale sharks are filter feeders, meaning they take food and nutrients from the water. They swim great distances to find enough to eat.

The longest-known whale shark ever recorded reached a length of about 18 meters. Whale sharks can live for 100 to 150 years.

Meekan suggested the study’s findings were important for saving whale sharks. He noted that if it takes 30 or more years for the creatures to reach sexual maturity, “there are lots of threats such as hunting and ship-strike…before they get a chance to breed.”

Resource: https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/with-whale-sharks-males-grow-faster-but-females-grow-bigger/5591750.html

  1. What are the surprising details about whale sharks?
  2. What did you think when you read the headline?
  3. Would you like to try whale meat?

“There are people in this world who can wear whale masks and people who cannot, and the wise know to which group they belong.”

Tom Robbins