Rhincodon typus

Whale Shark | Basking Shark | Checkerboard Shark | Tofu Shark
Rhincodon typus
Rhincodon typus, Maldives, Photo: Rick Stuart-Smith
Rhincodon typus
Rhincodon typus, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Photo: Graham Edgar
1 / 2
Rhincodon typus
Rhincodon typus


Tropical Atlantic/Caribbean, Tropical Eastern Pacific, Tropical Indo-Pacific


Unmistakeable filter-feeding shark with patterns of white dots extending in rows down body. Patterns are unique to individual animals and can be used to track movements (http://www.whaleshark.org). Largest of all fishes.


Max Size: 1200 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 15.5-31.8°C

Depth: 0-700m

Habitat Generalization Index: N/A

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Not Evaluated

Occurrence: Infrequent (4.1% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Solitary (1 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: extract from RD Stuart-Smith, GJ Edgar, AJ Green, IV Shaw. 2015. Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland