Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Whale Shark

whale shark

© Toby Gibson

Class: Chondrichthyes

Order: Orectolobiformes


Scientific Name: Rhincodon typus

IUCN Red List status: Vulnerable

Protected by the following WLT projects:



Species Range (IUCN)


Being the largest fish in the world, the Whale Shark earns its name from closely resembling a whale. With its flattened head, its mouth stretches almost as wide as the body. The Whale Shark's markings are distinctive with its greyish blue colour on the back and sides, scattered with yellow blotches.

Typically found in the open ocean around the world, whale sharks can also often be seen close to shore near coral reefs. Little is known about the natural ecology of this species, but they are known to be vulnerable to exploitation from an increase in the sale of their flesh, for example to use in shark fin soup.

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