Whale sharks are the worlds biggest fish-like animals, reaching sizes up to 14m. Only one species is known, Rhiniodon typus. Whale sharks are unmistakable. They have a very big, broad and flattened head and huge transverse and terminal mouth with very small barbels. The eyes are on the sides of the head with small spiracles directly behind. The gill slits are very large with the fifth one well separated from the fourth. The first dorsal fin is much larger than the second. The origin of the first dorsal fin is well anterior to the pelvic fins' origins. Whale sharks possess three prominent ridges along the abdomen with the lowermost expanding into a prominent keel on the side of the peduncle. They are circumglobal in tropical and warm temperate waters, preferring surface waters. Whale sharks are plankton feeders. Contrary to basking sharks, whales sharks actively suck in the water. They have an oviviviparous style of reproduction (aplacental viviparity).
Typical species of the family of "Whale sharks":
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