Whale sharks are the largest known species of fish, with the largest specimen on record measuring 20 m in length and weighing 30,8044 kg. On average, members of this species are 7 m in length. Whale sharks have a large rounded mouth and eyes located on the sides of their broad head. They have two dorsal fins, one large and one small, a pair of pelvic fins, and a pair of pectoral fins to help them steer in water. Above their pectoral fins are 3 ridges on each side, one of which extending to their tail. Whale sharks are white on the ventral side, and the dorsal side is pale blue to gray with lighter smaller spots before the pectoral fins and stripes with larger spots extending to their spotted tail. Each shark has a distinct pattern of white spots and stripes and can be identified by humans from photographs by using an astronomy based algorithm. Although they are born without any distinguishing features, once the spots and stripes are present they do not change.
Range mass: 30,8044 (high) g.
Range length: 3 to 20 m.
Average length: 7 m.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike
- Arzoumanian, Z., J. Holmberg, B. Norman. 2005. An astronomical pattern-matching algorithm for computer-aided identification of whale sharks Rhincodone typus. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42: 999-1011.
- Graham, R., C. Roberts. 2007. Assessing the size, growth rate and structure of a seasonal population of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus Smith 1828) using conventional tagging and photo identification. Fisheries Research, 84: 71-80.