A photographer has captured an amazing photo of a giant whale shark as it swims underneath a boat full of tourists.
Photographer Tom Cannon captured the extraordinary photo earlier this week in Australia's Ningaloo Reef, which is famous for its coral marine life including whale sharks, manta rays, and reef fish.
Cannon said that whale sharks spend most of their time living at depths not reached by humans but they can be seen at Ningaloo Reef and Exmouth in Australia between March and July.
The whale shark appears to dwarf the boat as it floats just below the water's surface with its mouth open but Cannon said there is nothing to worry about. He said that they swim with these marine animals a lot.
Whale sharks, the largest fish in the sea, reach lengths of 40 feet or more but despite their enormous size, they do not pose threats to humans since they mainly feed on planktons. These marine animals are filter feeders that scoop planktons and tiny fishes with their mouth while swimming close to the water surface.
"In order to eat, the beast juts out its formidably sized jaws and passively filters everything in its path. The mechanism is theorized to be a technique called "cross-flow filtration," similar to some bony fish and baleen whales," the National Geographic said.
Cannon said that the particular shark in the photo was a curious creature and spent nearly an hour on the surface. He said that whale sharks often swim in straight lines to search for food.
Is It Fake?
Cannon co-founded the company Ocean Collective Media, which provides charter tours for tourists who want to see whale sharks and manta rays.The people onboard the boat on the photo were staff members and customers of the company.
Some think that the photo was a fake but Ocean Collective Media assured the authenticity of the photo.
"We can guarantee you it is not fake," Ocean Collective Media said. "We are lucky enough to swim with Whale Sharks most days here in Coral Bay during the Whale Shark season that runs from March through to around the end of July."
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 75 percent of whale sharks swim in the Indian and Pacific oceans and 25 percent are found in the Atlantic. Due to their decreasing numbers, whale sharks have been classified as endangered.