Whale Shark

© Johan Boshoff

Name

Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)

Size

Whale sharks can measure up to 13m in length.

Whale Shark Identification

Whale sharks have three distinct ridges which run along the body. They are characterised by their light coloured spots and vertical and horizontal checkered grey stripes across their bodies.

Whale Shark General Info

The whale shark belongs to the Rhincodontidae family which comprises of one genus and one species. Whale sharks are the largest living fish in the sea and can have a mass of up to 13 tons. Their mouths are 1.5m wide, and has 300 to 350 rows of tiny teeth, but are not used in feeding. They are normally spotted unaccompanied but can live in groups of up to 100 individuals. These are ovoviviparous creatures whose young are fully developed and 40 to 60cm in length at birth. They can live up to 100 years of age.

Whale Shark Feeding

Whale sharks feed by means of a filter feeder, eating krill, plankton, crustacean larvae, small vertebrates and macro-algae predominantly.

Distribution

Whale sharks can be found in tropical regions across the world.