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Rhincodontidae (whale shark; subclass Elasmobranchii, order Lamniformes) A monospecific family (Rhincodon typus) comprising a shark that is thought to reach a length of more than 15 m and has the distinction of being the world's largest fish. Whale sharks are frequently seen swimming near the surface and can be recognized by the exceptionally large gill slits, which extend almost to the tip of the head. Despite their size, these sharks are not aggressive and feed on small planktonic animals. They have a world-wide distribution.