rhincodontidae whale SHARKS
The Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a slow-moving, filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known extant fish species averaging 40 feet in length. Whale sharks usually weigh 10 tons or more, and typically don’t exceed 22 tons. The Whale shark holds many records for size in the animal kingdom, most notably being by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate. It is the sole member of the genus Rhincodon and the only extant member of the family Rhincodontidae.
The species was eminent in April 1828 after the harpooning of a 15-foot specimen in Table Bay, South Africa. Andrew Smith, a military doctor associated with British troops stationed in Cape Town, described it the following year. The name “Whale shark” refers to the fish’s size, being as large as some species of whales, and to its being a filter feeder like Baleen whales.