Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

EspaƱol  Contact

Family: Rhincodontidae, Whale Shark


All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout very short, wide
white spots
C semilunar, base with keel
short, v wide mouth opens at front

Next

Previous

FAMILY RHINCODONTIDAE

WHALE SHARK

A very large (12 m or more) shark; cylindrical body; snout very short, broad and flattened; eye small, round, behind short mouth; mouth wide but short, opening almost at front of head, a little behind tip of snout; five large gill slits, last three over pectoral fin; teeth very small, many, with hooked tips; two dorsal fins, first over pelvics, 2nd much smaller, over anal; tail asymmetrical, but with large lower lobe; tail base flattened, with large keel that continues forward as crest along body and over gill slits, with two or more crests above along body; dark, with prominent white spots.

This family contains one species with a worldwide distribution in tropical and subtropical seas, including the western Atlantic.

PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER CARPENTER (2002)