Largest of All Fish Species - The Whale Shark
The whale shark, (Rhincodon typus), is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 metres (41.50 ft) and a weight of more than 21.5 tonnes (47,000 lb), and there are unconfirmed reports of considerably larger whale sharks. Claims of individuals over 14 metres (46 ft) long and weighing at least 30 tonnes (66,000 lb) are not uncommon. The whale shark holds many records for sheer size in the animal kingdom, most notably being by far the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate, rivaling many of the largest dinosaurs in weight. It is the sole member of the genus Rhincodon and the family, Rhincodontidae (called Rhiniodon and Rhinodontidae before 1984), which belongs to the subclass Elasmobranchii in the class Chondrichthyes. The species originated approximately 60 million years ago.
The whale shark is found in tropical and warm oceans and lives in the open sea with a lifespan of about 70 years.In Australia, the Whale Shark is known from NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and occasionally Victoria and South Australia, but it is most commonly seen in waters off northern Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.