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Biggest Shark in the World, List of Top-10

The ocean, a vast and mysterious realm, is home to some of the most magnificent creatures on Earth. Among these, sharks stand out as apex predators, instilling both fear and fascination in those who explore the depths. In this article, we will delve into the world of the largest sharks, counting down the top 10 biggest sharks in the world.

World’s Biggest Shark 2024

Undisputedly claiming the title of the largest shark in the world as of 2024, the whale shark stands as a colossal plankton-feeding giant, stretching up to a staggering 18.8 meters (61.7 feet). Inhabiting tropical waters globally, this spotted gentle giant showcases a peaceful intelligence when engaging with divers. Tragically, the whale shark faces endangerment due to relentless hunting for its liver, fins, and meat, compounded by the threat of boat-related injuries. Despite occasional claims of sizes exceeding 20 meters, reliable reports confirm these oceanic behemoths reaching approximately 18 meters, solidifying their status as the ocean’s majestic leviathans.

Key Facts About Whale Shark, the World’s Largest Shark

Here are some of the key facts related to Whale Shark, the largest shark of the world:

  • The whale shark, measuring an astounding 8 meters (61.7 feet), reigns as the indisputable largest shark globally.
  • This gentle giant, a placid plankton-feeder, graces tropical waters worldwide with its majestic presence.
  • Despite its peaceful nature, the whale shark faces endangerment due to hunting for its livers, fins, and meat.
  • Tragically, these magnificent creatures often fall victim to boat-related injuries, threatening their survival.
  • Only 1 in 10 whale sharks surpass 4 meters in length, with most remaining under 10 meters.
  • Wild claims of sizes exceeding 20 meters persist, though reliable reports confirm approximately 18 meters as the norm.
  • Reports include a dubious 20-meter, 34-ton catch from Taiwan in the ’90s, adding intrigue to their colossal reputation.
  • The whale shark, a symbol of oceanic magnificence, urgently requires protection as it teeters on the brink of endangerment.

Features of Largest Sharks in the World

Here are the features of largest sharks in the world:

  • Large, carnivorous sharks possess the ability to kill and eat humans, a phenomenon reversing the typical predator-prey relationship.
  • Unlike other fish, their skeletons are made of lightweight cartilage, contributing to a lower weight compared to animals with bony skeletons.
  • Sharks feature 5 to 7 gill openings and pectoral fins supported by girdles, not fused to their heads like other fish.
  • Male sharks have claspers on pelvic fins for internal fertilization of females’ eggs.
  • Sharks lack a swim bladder but employ methods like oil-filled livers or stomach air to stay buoyant, crucial for those needing constant movement.
  • Their skin, crafted from dermal denticles or tooth-like structures, serves as both an external skeleton and enhances hydrodynamics during swimming.
  • Teeth adaptation varies based on prey preference, and sharks continuously replace their teeth throughout their lives.
  • Some shark species can attain massive sizes, showcasing their remarkable growth potential.
  • Despite their advantages, many shark species face endangerment due to culling, overfishing, pollution, and climate change.

Top-10 Biggest Sharks in the World

Whale Shark, with the length of 18.8 meters, claims the title of the biggest shark in the world, followed by Basking Shark, Megamouth Shark and Great White Shark.

Here is the list of top-10 biggest sharks in the world:

Rank Shark Length Notable features
1. Whale Shark 18.8 m / 61.7 ft Plankton-feeder, gentle giant, endangered, intelligent behavior
2. Basking Shark 12.27 m / 40 ft Huge filter feeder, slow-moving, cooler waters, migratory
3. Megamouth Shark 7.1 m / 23 ft Plankton feeder, comically large mouth, recent discoveries
4. Great White Shark 7 m / 23 ft Largest predatory shark, rare attacks on humans, elusive
5. Greenland Shark 6.4 m / 21 ft Longest-living vertebrate, deep Arctic habitat, slow-moving
6. Bluntnose Sixgill 5.5 m / 18 ft Deep-water shark, diverse feeding habits, near threatened
7. Thresher Shark (Genus) 4.6 m / 15 ft Exceptional tail length, multiple species, hunting weapon
8. Tiger Shark 4.6 m / 15 ft Indiscriminate hunter, aggressive, potential danger to swimmers
9. Blue Shark 4 m / 13 ft Commonly caught as by-catch, athletic and sleek, near threatened
10. Great Hammerhead 3-4 m / 10-13 ft Recognizable cephalofoil head, deep-sea predator, metal detector

Biggest Shark of the World – Whale Shark

Whale shark

Scientific Name: Rhincodon typus

Length: 18.8 m

Undoubtedly the largest shark in the world, the whale shark reigns as a peaceful colossus, reaching up to 18.8 meters (61.7 feet). Inhabiting tropical waters globally, these spotted gentle giants sadly face endangerment, hunted for their livers, fins, and meat. Despite occasional claims, reliable reports confirm their impressive size, marking them as oceanic behemoths in desperate need of protection.

Second Largest Shark in the World – Basking Shark

Basking Sharks - Basking Shark Scotland

Scientific Name: Cetorhinus maximus

Length: 12.27 m

The second-largest shark globally, the basking shark, closely resembles the whale shark but lacks aesthetic appeal. Roaming vast distances with open mouths to filter plankton, they grow to substantial sizes, with a record length of 12.27 meters. Harmless to humans, these slow-moving giants, restricted by feeding energy dynamics, inhabit cooler waters, and despite their immense potential size, typically measure under 4 or 5 meters.

Third Biggest Shark in the World – Megamouth Shark

Everything you need to know about the megamouth shark

Scientific Name: Megachasma pelagios

Length: 7.1 m

The megamouth shark, once thought exceptionally rare, surprised scientists as more records emerged post2010, revealing a maximum length exceeding 7 meters. Initially believed to reach only 4.5 meters, this plankton-feeder boasts a comically large mouth, feeding at depths up to a kilometer. Unconfirmed reports suggest lengths surpassing 8 meters, positioning it among the world’s largest sharks, though still shy of the basking shark’s colossal size. Ongoing discoveries hint at more exciting examples of this enigmatic species.

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Which is the biggest shark in the world?

Whale Shark, with the length of 18.8 meters, claims the title of the biggest shark in the world.

Which is the second largest shark in the world?

The second-largest shark globally, the basking shark, closely resembles the whale shark but lacks aesthetic appeal.

How big is a megalodon?

Estimates suggest megalodon actually grew to between 15 and 18 metres in length, three times longer than the largest recorded great white shark. It may have been comparable in length to today's biggest whale sharks, the largest of which has measured in at 18.8 metres.

Name the top-5 biggest sharks in the world.

The top-5 biggest sharks in the world are: Whale Shark, Basking Shark, Megamouth Shark, Great White Shark, and Greenland Shark.

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