At a whopping forty-six feet and a massive fifteen tons, you can see why the whale shark is called they whale shark. The whale shark is the biggest shark and the biggest fish in the ocean (The Whale Shark Bibliography – Tethys Marine). As you can see it is not a whale. It has a mouth, which is around 4 feet wide. Its mouth is at the front of the head and not underside like most sharks. On this massive giant, are a wide flat head, a rounded snout, small eyes, five gill slits, two dorsal fins, and two pectoral fins (The Whale Shark Bibliography – Tethys Marine). The spiracle is also located just behind the shark s eye. And another distinguishing feature is that its tail has a top fin much larger than the lower fin. Another unique characteristic is that the whale shark has a distinctive light yellow marking on its body. These come in the form of different stripes and dots. Like other sharks, the female is normally larger than the male sharks are. Also, pregnant females have been found containing hundreds of pups, which means that whale sharks are viviparous. This means giving birth to live young, and these newborns are over two feet long. Most whale sharks are sexually mature at thirty years old. This is when they are able to mate and reproduce. One thing that may be of some
relief would be that whale sharks are harmless to people and usually to divers as well. But to top all of that, it is estimated that whale sharks live up to 100 150 years.
The classification of the whale shark is fairly simple, they are in kingdom Animalia, then phylum Chordata, next they are in subphylum vertebrata, after that is placed in the class Chondrichthyes, and then subclass Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays), next in the family Rhincodontidae, after that in the genus Rhincodon, and finally in the species Typus (The Whale Shark Bibliography. Tethys Marine).
Swimming in the whale sharks can go along well with their names. They are insanely slow swimmers, going no more that three miles...