Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Family: RHINCODONTIDAE, Whale Shark

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

head wide
mouth short, transverse
body- white spots, 3 ridges
C: semilunar, base with keel





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 eastern Pacific.