Types of Sharks
Whale Shark: The World's Largest Fish
Whale sharks are not only the largest shark – they’re the largest fish in the ocean. These gentle giants feed on some of the tiniest creatures in the ocean: plankton.
Whale Sharks By the Numbers
MAX RECORDED LENGTH
MAX RECORDED WEIGHT
HOW TO SPOT A WHALE SHARK
Whale sharks are hard to miss. They are HUGE creatures. In case you’re not sure what to look for, though, here are a few ways to tell if a shark is really a whale shark. Tap or click on hotspots for more information. EXPLORE THE WHALE SHARK
Whale sharks are members of the carpetshark family. Some carpetsharks are flat and live on the ocean floor. Some look more like snakes than sharks. Many are also just a foot long, yet the biggest fish in the world, the whale shark, is also a carpetshark. All carpetsharks have several features in common: two spineless dorsal fins, mouths in front of their eyes, and odd-looking sensory attachments called barbels that most often extend from their nostrils or jaws. Click through to learn about more members of the carpetshark family.
Nurse sharks live along the warmer parts of the coasts of North and South America and grow to about 9 feet long. These sharks are very social, and often share resting spaces with other nurse sharks.
Wobbegong sharks are masters at camouflage and can sit on the ocean floor without moving for days just waiting to ambush prey. Wobbegongs have enlarged barbels — whiskerlike growths — on their nostrils that cover their jaws and mouths.
Also known as long-tailed carpetsharks, bamboo sharks have slender bodies and thick tails that are often as long as their bodies. This gives them a snakelike appearance, but their fins, gills and teeth are all shark.
Epaulette sharks have strong fins that look like paddles. When they move these paddles along the ocean floor, they look as though they are walking rather than swimming. For this reason, epaulette sharks are sometimes called “walking sharks.”