- Type: Fish
- Size: 18 ft to 32.8 ft
- Weight: 20.6 tons
- Diet: Carnivore
- Ave. Life Span: Up to 100 years
- Group Name: School
The whale shark, which is the biggest fish in the world, is characterized by its pattern of spots located around its gills, massive body that is gray in color, and wide mouth that can measure up to 3 feet. Each whale shark has a unique pattern of spots; thereby allowing experts to identify individual whale shark.
Another interesting fact about this marine animal is that its skeleton is composed of cartilage, unlike other fishes which have bony skeletons. Despite its huge size, they are actually very gentle creatures. In fact, Eco tourists can snorkel alongside them without getting harmed.
They can be found in tropical seas across the world because they prefer living in warm waters. However, they do not inhabit the Mediterranean Sea. During spring, they typically migrate to Australia’s central west coast. As for their diet, their favorite food is plankton, but they also consume krill, fishes, fish eggs, and small squids.
A female whale shark can produce over 300 babies at once, which only reach sexual maturity at their early 30s and may live for a hundred years.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the whale shark is categorized as Endangered. Some of the threats to this species include accidental bycatch, capturing, mortality due to vessel strikes, and marine pollution.