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What is the biggest fish in the ocean?

The biggest fish in the ocean is the Rhincodon typus or whale shark.

Whale shark (Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary)

Despite their tremendous size and intimidating appearance, whale sharks are commonly docile and approachable. Please keep your distance, giving them the respect and space they deserve.

Whale sharks may grow up to 40 feet and weigh as much as 40 tons by some estimates. Whale sharks longer longer than about 39 feet are uncommon. They have broad, flat heads with short snouts and their backs have an interesting white, yellow, and grey checkerboard pattern. It is unknown how long whale sharks can live, however, scientists believe they can live approximately 60-100 years.

Whale sharks are found in all tropical and warm-temperate seas around the world, preferring water temperatures of 68-77° Fahrenheit.

Whale sharks eat mostly small organisms like plankton, schooling fish, and squid, which they strain from the water as they swim with their meter-long mouths and specialized teeth.

Last updated:
02/26/21

Author: NOAA

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