A plankton-based diet is the common thread that stitched together this feeding frenzy.
An animal measured in meters sustaining itself on prey measured in millimeters has always puzzled me. The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) and the oceanic manta ray (Manta birostris) are two of these large fish that prey on plankton, one of the smallest specimen in the ocean.
One can see first-hand how these two fish peacefully consume tons―literally, tons― of plankton in the midst of each other’s company.
More from Wide Open Spaces:
Oceanic manta rays are phylogenetically akin to whale sharks and vice versa―both animals belong to the cartilaginous class of fish, Condritchyes. While the exact location of where the aerial footage remains unknown, marine-savvy individuals can assume that this mutual lunch took place somewhere near the Atlantic coastline off the Yucatan peninsula; there, both populations of animals overlap.
Oh, and did I mention that there are snorkelers, nonchalantly swimming alongside these oceanic giants? Because that’s normal. But don’t worry, they’re completely safe—we’re measured in meters too, thankfully.