06/08/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Basking Sharks, the Huge Disappearing Fish (Pictures)

The plankton-feeding sharks hide out for nearly half the year, disappearing from surface waters at the end of autumn, said Gregory Skomal of the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries. Scientists once debated whether the sharks hibernated on the ocean floor in winter, but satellite technology recently tracked tagged basking sharks to tropical waters in the western Atlantic, in the vicinity of the Caribbean and Bahamas, Skomal said. Data from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution show basking sharks in winter travel at depths of 600 feet to a mile, staying at those depths for weeks and even months. 2

A gigantic 35-feet long swimmer, the basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) never tell when and where they leave on a vacation. Spending time from New England to the Bahamas and across the equator to South America, experts have been annoyed by not knowing where they hide. That's why marine biologist Greg Skomal and his team attached complicated tracking devices and satellite technology to 25 basking sharks off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Only to find out that during winters, the basking sharks make vast migrations to the South to find deep, warm-water hideouts. 1
  1. Basking Sharks, the Huge Disappearing Fish (Pictures) (GreenPacks)
  2. Basking Sharks Farther South Than Thought (UPI)