Ocean Giants

     Most of the largest animals in the world reside in the oceans. The oceans are nutrient rich, which provides an abundance of food, and the buoyancy of seawater helps support the animal’s massive weight.


     The whale shark is one such example. It is the largest fish in the world, reaching a maximum length of around 50 feet and weighing up to 15 tons. Whale sharks cruise slowly at the surface of warm seas, feeding on plankton, krill, small fishes and squids, which they filter out of the water with their sieve-like gill rakers. Their gill rakers are so efficient that they can filter prey as small as one millimeter in diameter! Through their five-foot wide mouths they can filter over 1,500 gallons of water an hour. Whale sharks give live birth to their young, which are about two feet in length. They reach maturity at about 30 years of age and are believed to live well over 100 years.

     Manta rays are another large, live-bearing fish species. They have "wingspans" of up to almost 30 feet and can attain weights of up to 3,000 pounds. They swim by flapping their pectoral fins, like a bird flapping its wings, and are capable of making incredible leaps out of the water. Like the whale shark, manta rays live in tropical waters and feed on plankton and small fishes. They have two large, flap-like cephalic lobes extending forward from the eyes, which they use to funnel food into their wide mouths while they swim.

     The largest invertebrate in the world also lives in the sea. Found in most of the world’s oceans, the giant squid can attain lengths of up to 60 feet and weigh up to a ton. Sucker marks 18 inches in diameter have been found on the skin of sperm whales and suggest that squid up to 200 feet long could exist. Giant squid live deep in the sea where there is very little light. They have huge eyes the size of a man’s head to help them see. They prey on fish and other squids, which they capture with their sucker-laden tentacles. Giant squid are fast growers and only have a life span of about five years. Sperm whales are the only known enemies of the adult squids.

     The blue whale is the largest mammal in the world, weighing as much as thirty elephants. It could easily carry the largest dinosaur on its back. At a maximum length of 118 feet and weighing up to 150 tons, it is the largest creature that has ever lived on the earth. Blue whales feed mainly on krill, which they strain through baleen plates in their mouths. A full-grown whale can consume up to four tons of krill a day. Newborn blue whales are around 23 feet long and can weigh 6,000 to 8,000 pounds. These whales have the richest milk of all mammals, and on this diet, the young whales can gain up to 200 pounds and grow one and a half inches in length per day.

     The Lord is looking for "spiritual giants"! Men and women who are strong in moral power and who are qualified to stand as pillars in the cause of God. "The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall." Education, 57.

David Arbour