|Family||Scientific Name||Author||Year||Common Name|
|Rhincodontidae||Rhincodon typus||Smith||1828||Whale Shark|
Unique Characters: A very large shark with cylindrical or moderately depressed body. Head very broad and flattened, with 5 large gill slits, posterior 3 over pectoral-fin bases. No dermal denticle or papillose gill rakers but filter grids of transverse bars and lobes across the internal gill slits. Nostrils with short, quadrate anterior nasal flaps, minute barbels, and shallow nasoral grooves. No nictitating eyelids. Snout extremely short, truncated. Mouth nearly subterminal, very wide, transverse on front of head and short, not reaching backward to eyes. Teeth very small and extremely numerous, similar in both jaws, not blade-like and with hooked cusps. Caudal fin asymmetrical, crescentic, with a strong lower lobe but no subterminal notch; caudal fin much less than half total length. Caudal peduncle depressed, with a strong keel on each side continuing forward onto the back and over the gill slits as a low ridge and flanked by 2 additional ridges above it. Dark grey, reddish, or greenish grey above, with white or yellow spots and transverse stripes; white or yellowish below.
Similar Species: None.