Explore The Aquarium — Interact

Ocean Voyager built by The Home Depot

Whale shark

Whale shark

(Rhincodon typus)

The whale shark is found in tropical and warm temperate seas worldwide. It is considered the largest fish in the world. Despite the name, it is a shark not a whale. The largest individual that was accurately measured was 40 feet 7 inches long. There is a report in 1925 of a 60-foot whale shark, but it is undocumented.

A whale shark can be recognized in the wild by its size and the two-toned pattern of light spots on its dark gray back. Its mouth is huge and can reach four feet across. This shark is not a threat to people because it feeds only on plankton, small fish and squid, which it filters from the water through its gills.

Watch these gentle giants as they swim slowly above you in the Ocean Voyager gallery.

Fun Facts

  • The Georgia Aquarium is the only aquarium outside of Asia to exhibit whale sharks.
  • Whale sharks congregate for several months each year at about twenty known locations throughout the world to feed on seasonal blooms of plankton.
  • The Georgia Aquarium is conducting research on whale sharks that congregate near the Yucatan in Mexico.
  • A female whale shark may carry as many as 300 pups at one time.
  • The skin of an adult whale shark is four inches thick.
  • Download full fact sheet

Plan Your Visit

Connect with Georgia Aquarium around the web