Whale shark the biggest fish

Whale shark in black and white

The whale shark the biggest fish

whale shark

Scientific Name: Rhincodon typus
English name: whale shark
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Orectolobiformes
Family: Rhincodontidae
Link to Red List page: The whale shark Red list page

IUCN red list classification as endangered


Whale Shark is the biggest fish on the earth. Sorry if you thought was the whale the biggest. The whale is a mammal so is not a fish, Whale Shark is a fish. I know usually get deceived by the name where “whale” is before “shark” so it is easy to be confused about this fish.
I don’t know if you see some spectacular images, the mouth is so big, is really very big. Imagine the whale shark can eat one hundred kilograms of fish in one mouthful.


Dimension is important, he can be 12 meters long and around 20 tons weight. These dimensions are real, but expert says that exist specimens of 34 tons and 20 meters long. Anyway, its weight average is around 9 tons and 10 meters.


These fish love the temperate water. He is present in any tropical sea just if the temperature of the water is above 21 degrees. He is a pelagic fish.


Its diet is in most part plankton but he likes even small fish and squid. Is present all around the world in a band large like African continent, he like warm water and stay not far from the coast, he can live normally around 70 years but can be even much more.

whale shark
JimmyDominico CC0 licensed

This shark is no danger to human, many divers love to swim close him and take spectacular photos, anyway, as usual, we recommend don’t disturb the shark, especially the youngest that love to play, scientist discourage to play with shark, not for danger but for didn’t disturb and leave shark wild. Is important to understand that bad behavior can represent a menace to wild animals, to have much confidence in human,

make them vulnerable.


Major risk

Whale Shark is not considered at risk extinction but anyway many scientists and especially the IUCN said is necessary to do deeper studies for to understand the real risk of this wonderful fish, so is considerate vulnerable, watch here the red list of threatened species. Question is to understand if the fishing is dangerous for the whale shark population and it’s balancing. Whale Shark is caught in many countries like China where is considered traditional food but even is used in industrial products.

Finally, we recommend please go to watch in his natural habitat, many tropical destinations allow to see the whale shark, just take information about its presence because is migratory fish.