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Author: (Gunnerus, 1765)

Cetorhinus maximus (Gunnerus, 1765)

Diagnosis: 5 extremely long gill-slits, starting on the back almost at the midline and running round to under the throat; gill arches with bristlelike rakers; teeth minute and very numerous; nostrils widely separated from mouth. Caudal fin nearly asymmetrical, with lower lobe well developed; caudal peduncle with strong keels on sides. Colour: back greyishbrown to slate-grey or blackish, belly similar or lighter, often with light patches or bands on belly and under snout. Size: males to about 9 m, females to 9.8 m TL (reported to reach 15.2 m).

Habitat: epipelagic, oceanic, migrating towards the coast in summer. Food: planktonic organisms, mainly minute crustaceans. Reproduction: viviparous; apparently about 160 cm at birth; gestation period assumed long (3 1/2 years).

Distribution: eastern North Atlantic, from Iceland, Norway and West Barents Sea southward to Mediterranean. Elsewhere, in boreal, temperate and warm temperate seas.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Capapé, 1974a: 235.

Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus)