The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is the largest fish that can be found in the sea, weighing up to 60 tonnes. It is found in tropical and warm oceans and has a life span of about 70 years.
The whale shark has a flattened head with a blunt snout and short barbels protruding from its nostrils. It has a white belly and its back and sides may be grey or brown with white spots on them. Despite its formidable size and appearance, the whale shark feeds only on plankton.
Like the basking shark, the whale shark is a filter feeder, it juts out its jaws and sucks in a great deal of water. It then shuts its mouth, forcing the water to filter out of its gills. The fish and zoo planktons that remain become its meal.
Whale sharks are docile by nature and are known to let divers ride on their backs! Due to overfishing they are currently listed as a vulnerable species.