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The Whale Shark, Rhincodon typus, is the largest of all fishes. Whale Sharks between 4 m to 12 m in length are most often seen, but the species can possibly reach a length of 18 m.

Whale Shark,<i> Rhincodon typus</i>
A Whale Shark at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, 27 Apr 2009. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Whale Sharks can be easily recognised by their colour pattern. The ventral surface is whitish, and the back and sides are blue to blackish with white stripes and blotches. They have prominent ridges on the side of the body with the lowermost expanding into a keel on the caudal peduncle.

In Australia it is known primarily from northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. It is also recorded from scattered localities in New South Wales, Victoria and the western Great Australian Bight.