By Lauren Fruen

THESE incredible close up images show the inside of a whale shark.

Photographer Simone Caprodossi captured the gills working at “full power” at an expedition to help ID the animals.

Pic by Simone Caprodossi/Caters News 

The 43-year-old, who is based in Dubai, helps to monitor the whaleshark aggregation on research expedition.

The pics were taken in Djibouti in East Africa and capture an angle Simone said he has never seen before.

He said: “This image show the extraordinary gills of the whaleshark working at full power.

“The whale sharks suck in huge volumes of water with mouth wide open and after closing their mouths use their gills like strainers, filtering out the water while keeping solid organisms smaller than about 2 centimeters in diameter.

Pic by Simone Caprodossi/Caters News

“If something bigger comes in like a larger swimming crab or a jellyfish I have seen them just spit it out as it does not pass through the gill system and they can t process it.

“The whaleshark spot pattern is unique to each animal like a human fingerprint so photos of the area between the gills and the dorsal fin are used to uniquely identify individuals and estimate populations as well as tracking movement and recurrence of the same animals.

“The whaleshark is a quite hot subject among underwater photographers and i had seen thousands of photos of friends and other photographers yet this was an angle i had never seen before.”