whale shark

Scientific name Rhincodon typus
Descriptor Smith
Year of description 1828
IUCN category EN
Family Rhincodontidae
Genus Rhincodon
Rhincodon typus Rhincodon typus


Rhincodon typus, commonly known as whale shark, is a salt water fish.

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Who is it?


  • Average size
    1000 cm
  • Maximum size
    1800 cm
  • Longevity
    80 year
  • Pattern
  • Average size
    1000 cm
  • Maximum size
    1800 cm
  • Longevity
    80 year
  • Pattern

How to recognize the whale shark ?

The whale shark measures between 1000 and 1800 cm. This fish is bicolore with a predominantly blanc and gris body. The also has blanc ponctuations.

Behaviour & Life cycle

  • diet
  • Sociability
    living in a group or alone
  • territorial
  • Way of living

The whale shark is a fish living in a group or alone naturally found close to the surface. This species is planctophage .

n general, this species does not care much about other animals crossing its path.


  • Reproduction
  • Migratory species

The whale shark is a fish ovovivipare.

Harmless species

This species does not represent any particular threats to humans when encountered in its natural environment.

Where to find it?

What is its habitat?

Natural environment characteristics

  • Temperature
    18 - 30 °C
  • Depth
    0 - 1928 m
  • Environment
    Active pelagic

Biotope presentation

The whale shark is most often found at a depth between 0m and 1928m. However, it is not impossible to find this species at other depths.

Species of the same biotope

To go further

To read on the web

Sources & Contributions

Participation & Validation

The Fishipedia team and specialist contributors are committed to providing high-quality content. However, although the information comes from scientific sources or testimonials from specialists, the cards may contain inaccuracies.

Benoit Chartrer

Benoit Chartrer


Translation done with the valuable contribution of our translators, who make this information available to a wider audience. We sincerely thank them for their commitment.

Bibliographic references

Movements of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) tagged at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia - S.G. Wilson - J.J. Polovina - B.S. Stewart - M.G. Meekan - Marine Biology - 2006.

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