Common Name: Whale Shark
Scientific Name: Rhincodon typus
Description: With a mouth up to 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) wide the whale shark has a wide, flat head that features two small eyes towards the front. The whale shark has five gills and a grayish blue body with a white underside. There are three ridges along each side of the whale shark and it is covered in a pattern of white/yellow spots. These spots are unique and allow each shark to be individually identified.
Maximum Size: 2000cm
Habitat & Range: Whale sharks are found in tropical and warm temperate seas all around the world with the exception of the Mediterranean. They're found between 0-700 meters and are usually encountered by divers when they surface to feed.
Diet: Whale sharks are filter feeders. The whale shark's many rows of teeth play no part in feeding. Instead the whale shark takes in a mouth full of water which is then expelled from the gills. Food is filtered out of the water during this process. The whale shark's diet consists of phytoplankton, macro-algae, plankton, krill and small nektonic life, such as small squid or vertebrates.
Lifespan: We can't be sure but Whale sharks are thought to live to 60-70 years of age.
Predators: Juveniles can be at risk from other sharks. Adults have no predators in the sea.
Red List Status: Vulnerable