2021 Aurifil Builders Club - Meet the Whale Shark

Check Out This Amazing Paper-piecing Block and Whale Shark Embroidery that is available to Aurifil Thread Club Members!

The 2021 Color Builder Subscription is a capsule of 12 mini-collections, each containing three large spools of 40wt thread - a warm, a medium, and a dark. Each mini-collection is inspired by one of the world's most endangered species.

Meet The Whale Shark

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a slow-moving, filter-feeding shark and the largest known extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 62 ft. The name “whale shark” comes from the fact these animals are so large (as big as whales) and that they filter-feed (like large humpback whales). However, they have cartilage instead of bone – a true shark. The species was distinguished in April 1828 after the harpooning of a 15ft specimen in Table Bay, South Africa.

The whale shark is found in open waters of the tropical oceans and is rarely found in water below 70 °F. Studies looking at vertebral growth bands and the growth rates of free-swimming sharks have estimated whale shark lifespans at 80–130 years.

The head is wide and flat with two small eyes at the front corners. Whale sharks have five large pairs of gills. Unlike many other sharks, whale sharks' mouths are located at the front of the head rather than on the underside of the head. Their skin is dark grey with a white belly and marked with pale grey or white spots and stripes which are unique to each individual, like human fingerprints.

They are filter feeders, often swimming near the surface of the open sea; they gulp in water and filter everything from plankton and fish eggs to crustaceans and schooling fish, to occasional larger prey like squid or tuna. Despite their size, they are considered harmless to humans, and will often interact docilely with divers.

Sharks do not have lungs. They use a breathing technique called Ram Ventilation. Which means, as they swim, water passes into their mouth and out through their gills where oxygen is separated and then distributed through-out their body. However Only about 12 species of sharks, including the Whale Shark, are called Obligate Ram Ventilators, which means, they have to remain swimming at all times or they literally drown.

Whale Shark Facts

Whale shark mouths can contain over 300 rows of tiny teeth and 20 filter pads which it uses to filter feed. They also swallow their food whole. They have about 3000 teeth and never use them.

Whale sharks gulp down air to float vertically while feeding, kind of like a goldfish in a bowl.

Whale Sharks do not use sound for communication. They are able to detect vibrations made by sound which can help them locate prey or nearby marine life.

Learn More About The Whale Shark When You Sign Up For Aurifil Thread Builders Club

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