Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)

photo by Abe Khao Lak

Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Whale Shark
Scientific Name: Rhincodon typus
Family: Rhincodontidae
Locations: Open waters of tropical oceans
Size: 62 feet long (18.8 m)

Is it a whale? Is it a shark? It’s a shark. The Whale Shark is the largest living species of fish. It is not a real whale due to lack of hair and amatory glands. While capable of reaching bus sized lengths, humans do not have to be afraid of the Whale Shark. They are filter feeders, eating plankton and other small fish. Whale Sharks need to be afraid of humans. Humans have caused them to become endangered. The major causes of the declines are from being struck by ships and from being caught as bycatch from fishermen. Other smaller threats including pollution events (such as oil leaks) and tourist activities.


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