There are many fish in the sea, to say the least, they can be the smallest ones in our ocean, and some are called the kings of the ocean due to their immense size. However, just like with every species, this specific creature reigns supreme from everybody else. So for that part, the towers from the rest should be intimidating enough to rule them every one, and they have to be the biggest one there is, right?
In today's discussion, we will be discussing the biggest fish in the world. So, if you are down for it, then meet the biggest fish existing in the ocean.
Whale Sharks as Biggest Fish in the World
If you want the biggest fish in the world, then meet the whale shark. Whale sharks or their scientific name, Rhincodon Typus – are not whales. Instead, they are sharks, and they have a lot in common when it comes to whales, such as having the same kind of appetite where they are typically filter feeders compared to carnivorous sharks.
When it comes to size, whale sharks can grow at a whopping 40 feet when they reach adulthood. That is why they are known as the biggest fish in the world. But on average, they grow around 22 to 34 feet and weigh as much as 20 tons. So when you compare it to the real-life school bus, they can be as identical as they can be in terms of sheer size.
Although great white sharks are popular for some scary reasons, they dwarf these apex predators. Still, the great white sharks are considered the largest predatory fish in the world as they mainly feed on bigger creatures, such as rays, dolphins, sea otters, seals, and many more. If you wonder where whale sharks rank, they aren't what you call predatory fishes.
One of the whale sharks' distinct characteristics is having a flat head and a somewhat blunt mouth and having whisker-like sensory organs identical to that of a catfish. In addition, their body colorations consist of greyish to blackish colors with white spots.
Their underbellies are white, and each one of them has a unique pattern, the same with fingerprints to humans. When you measure the mouth of a whale shark, it can stretch up to 5 feet wide and has over 300 rows of teeth but isn't primarily used for feeding.
Interesting Facts About Whale Sharks
Where Do Whale Sharks Live?
Whale sharks tend to have a liking in tropical and subtropical waters that are warm enough for their liking. Although some have spotted them in cooler waters, they are frequently seen in warmer countries such as Southeast Asia, where it became one of the most highly anticipated attractions in that region.
In summary, whale sharks are mainly found in Pacific and Indian waters, and only a few can be seen in the Atlantic. Whale sharks are solitary creatures, which means they live independently for the rest of their lives. However, they can be seen in areas where they aggregate when the food source is abundant.
Furthermore, whale sharks aren't fearful when sharing feeding grounds with their whale shark friends. You can witness juvenile whale sharks roaming around in the red sea.
Whale sharks are also one of the creatures in the world that can reach the century mark. It is estimated that whale sharks can live for up to 150 years barring any setbacks and reaching adulthood.
What Do Whale Sharks Eat?
Being a filter feeder means they need a huge amount of zooplanktons every day. What makes them gentle giants of the sea is how they don't feed on meat and attack other types of fish or even tear them apart. Instead, their way of feeding themselves is by opening their mouth. As they open their mouths, water comes in, and their bodies are used to filter out food and gills to let the water out of their mouth.
Their primary food source is planktons, but they can also eat algae, shrimps, and other small organisms that may get into their mouths once they open them. Whale sharks are also known to eat various fish eggs, and some researchers witnessed these creatures waiting for up to 14 hours for the fish to lay its eggs and swoop it up once they look for food.
Whale Shark Reproduction
Whale sharks produce eggs for females. Unlike other egg-laying fishes, the young hatch inside their body instead of them hatching in the water. It is estimated that a female whale shark lays around 250 to 300 eggs, but some of them never make it out and reach adulthood. These creatures also have a relatively long childhood that can shoot past 25 years, and once this stage is reached, they can already have their own young.
Whale Shark Status
According to IUCN, over the last 75 years, there has been a steady decline in the whale shark population in the Indo-Pacific region due to various factors such as climate change, catching, and water pollution. In the Atlantic region, whale sharks declined more than 30% of their actual population.
What we do know is the fact that whale sharks are one of the highly guarded and protected marine species in the world. Still, whale sharks are steadily declining over the years, and despite laws being passed to conserve and protect them, they are still slowly declining. That's why they are now close to being extinct, as they are listed as endangered as of writing.
Wrapping Things Up
Whale sharks are the gentle giants of the sea, and they are known to be social among divers and swimmers and make good company. Despite their huge size and being the biggest fish in the world, they are one of the calmest creatures on the planet, and they don't attack humans nor other known big fishes and mainly thrive on being alone.
Sadly, despite their big size, they still face various threats from manmade activities. If we want our children to witness how these majestic creatures are the fish they can be, we must protect and serve them for the years to come. Educating everyone on the whale shark population is the best way to go about it with this situation.
Whale sharks, though gigantic in size, look cute and adorable when worn as accessories. See for yourself in our ATOLEA Whale-inspired jewelry designs and have them as the eye catching accent that will complete your outfit.
So dive into our Ocean-inspired design collections now and show your love to the Ocean everywhere you go!