Scientific name

Rhinocodon typus

Locally known as

IUCN status



This filter-feeding carpet shark is the largest known fish species in existence, growing up to lengths of 40 ft or more.

Key threats

Habitat destruction, pollution waters, fishing.

Where they're found today

Open waters in tropical oceans.

Abu Dhabi’s efforts

EAD closely monitors the species and when sightings of a whale shark are made, the entity issues a warning to the public and to beachgoers to avoid the waters for health and safety reasons and to not harm the fish. Fishing of this species is also banned throughout the year in the UAE and the species is included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which ensures that international trade does not threaten their survival.

Fun facts

1. The whale shark is the biggest species of any fish.
2. The whale shark is a docile giant. They are filter feeders and mainly feed on planktonic crustaceans and fish eggs.
3. They have a distinctive pattern of white spots that can be used to identify the individual, much like a human fingerprint.
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