See all Rhincodon typus photos

Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #01502, all rights reserved worldwide. Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #01503, all rights reserved worldwide. Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #01519, all rights reserved worldwide.
Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, Image 01502 Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, Image 01503 Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, Image 01519
Whale shark with remora, Rhincodon typus, Remora sp., Darwin Island, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #01504, all rights reserved worldwide. Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #01523, all rights reserved worldwide. Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #01505, all rights reserved worldwide.
Whale shark with remora, Rhincodon typus, Remora sp., Darwin Island, Image 01504 Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, Image 01523 Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, Image 01505
Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #01513, all rights reserved worldwide. Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, copyright Phillip Colla Natural History Photography, www.oceanlight.com, image #01508, all rights reserved worldwide.
Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, Image 01513 Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, Image 01508
The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest fish in the world, measuring up to 40' (13 meters). It feeds on plantonic creatures and small fishes, and has only tiny teeth. Like all sharks, it is cartilaginous rather than bony. It is easily identified by its huge size, many spots, and flattish front end. It can be found in tropical waters worldwide, and is sought after by divers visiting Ningaloo Reef in Australia, the Burma Banks near Thailand, and remote islands in the eastern Pacific such as Isla del Coco (Costa Rica) and the Galapagos archipelago (Ecuador). It is generally considered not to be a threat to swimmers and divers. In some parts of the world it is well protected, while in some areas of Melaysia and Indonesia it is hunted (harpooned) for its fins and meat. It is not clear whether it lays eggs (as do many sharks and rays) or bears live young -- recently a pregnant female was harpooned bearing 300 embryos of which 15 were alive. (Reported at the 4th International Aquarium Congress Tokyo, June, 1996 by W.-B. Chang.) Kids may want to read:

Whale Sharks by Anne Welsbacher, Capstone Press; ISBN: 1560652713

Whale Sharks by John F. Prevost, Abdo & Daughters; ISBN: 1562394738

See also:     Various Sharks     Man and Animal