Big Sharks with Tiny Teeth

In one of the March postings, a great white shark was shown leaping up out of the water, with teeth bared, ready to chomp down on hapless prey.

However, not all sharks have huge teeth, though all do have sharp teeth. This whaleshark is no exception as it has about 300 rows in each jaw. But each tooth is a minute single hooked cusp, which are pretty much harmless.

The super large mouth, opens and water rushes in, and along with it a wide variety of planktonic and nectonic prey, including small crustaceans, small schooling fishes and occasionally on tuna and squid. Unlike other filter feeders it does not rely on forward motion for filtration, the act of opening the mouth is enough to force water over the filtering screens of the gill slits.

Every summer, hundreds of these sharks gather off the coast of Western Australia, at a place called Ningaloo Reef. At 160 miles long, Ningaloo is the second largest living thing in the world after the Great Barrier Reef. Although isolated, it's become a favourite jumping from boat into destination for people wanting to the water dive with a living monster. These huge creatures are protected by Australian law, so divers can look but they can't touch. In normal tourist situations you are not allowed to have more than about 10 people in the water at once and they can't get any closer than 10 feet from the shark.

These still are taken from NHNZ Images collection of film and video, which are available for purchase in your production