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Species: Rhincodon typus, Whale shark

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snout short, broad
black + white spots and bars
C ~symmetrical
mouth wide, opens at front

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Rhincodon typus Smith, 1828

Whale shark

Body heavy, cylindrical; 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 & bars.

Size: 12.2 m.

Habitat: pelagic in nearshore and offshore waters.

Depth: 0-700 m.

This species is distributed worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas; throughout the western Atlantic.


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Salinity
  • Marine
  • Marine Only
Inshore/Offshore
  • Inshore
  • In & Offshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Surface
  • Near Surface
  • Water column only
Habitat
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Planktivore
Diet
  • Data
  • Pelagic crustacea
  • Pelagic fish eggs
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Live birth
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • Continent
  • GC non-endemic
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • Island (s)
Residency
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Vulnerable
  • Listed
CITES
  • Appendix II
  • Listed
Length Max (cm)
  • 1220
Depth Range Min (m)
  • 0
Depth Range Max (m)
  • 700