The Biggest Fish in the Sea! Introducing.. Rhincodon typus!

Form and Function


    Rhincodon typus
is known to grow up to 10m-20m total in length. It is the biggest

known fish, and is easily identified by its large flattened head and the sequential

design of the white dots on its body. The design of R.typus is unknown (Colman,

1997). R.typus is classified by having very large gill slits covered by a soft gill cover,

and they also have an erect dorsal fin. R.typus have 20 unique filtering pads that

serve to filter small organisms as a food source instead of teeth (Mota, et al., 2010).

These pads also have primary and secondary cartilage vanes that allows water to

flow easily across the pads. With these unique pads, they filter feed plankton along

the surface of water, going at a steady pace with their mouth open to get as many

nutrients as they can. Along with the number of openings, R.typus have a separate

upper and lower jaw, and is capable of protrusion. Protrusion is the act of sticng out

or something that sticks out (Merriam-Webster). They have a terminal mouth,

having a mouth located on the anterior side of the organisms head. This allows for

them to keep their mouth open to retrieve plankton while they are near the surface

for feeding.           

   Different means of filter feeding by whale sharks have been observed over the

years. Whale sharks can be spotted feeding while holding themselves in an upright

position keeping their mouths open and allowing the fish to swim inside. Another

observation of feeding technique reveals a more active side of these creatures. In

some cases, the sharks will actively

feed while they swim, mouth open,

on the surface of water (Colman,

1997) . Being at the surface during

the daytime for man to see is rare for

the whale shark, since they tend to

only come up to the surface during

the night.This active, surface level

feeding is rarer compared to the

other ways.

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