Creature Feature: Whale Shark

Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) in El Nido, Palawan
Whale shark in front of Lagen Island Resort

Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are locally called butanding. They are sharks – not whales. They’re called “whale sharks” because of their filter-feeding habits (like the baleen whales) and gigantic sizes. They’re the largest living species of fish in the world, reaching an average length of 9.7 meters and weighing as much as 9 tons. The largest recorded whale shark was 12.65 meters and 21.5 tons! They can dive as deep as 700 meters but because they feed on macroalgae, plankton, and krill, they may also be found on the surface.

Whale Shark
A feeding whale shark (Photo by Kaz2.0 via Flickr)
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