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Rhincodontidae (Whale Sharks)

Species Currently in the DFL

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Rhincodon typus
Whale Shark
About This Family
Circumglobal in tropical and warm temperate oceans.
Coastal and oceanic, often near the surface (0-700 m).
Whale sharks are the world's largest fish, achieving a maximum length of at least 12 m, but perhaps as many as 14-18 m. As planktivores, they have very large mouths, gill openings and gill rakers. Their mouths are terminal and contain numerous rows of reduced teeth. They have five gill openings, the fifth being well-separated from the other four.

Whale sharks are migratory fishes; their migrations probably coincide with blooms of planktonic organisms. Sometimes they can be found in schools of up to hundreds of individuals.

This family comprises just 1 species, Rhincodon typus.

FishBase 2007; Helfman et al. 1997; Nelson 2006
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