Found on the continental shelf (Ref. 75154); Dives to depths well into the mesopelagic and bathypelagic zones (1,286 maximum depth) (Ref. 80381). Prefers surface water temperatures between 21-25°C and salinities of 34-35 ppt. Relies on a versatile suction filter-feeding method, which enables it to draw water into the mouth at higher velocities, thereby allowing it to capture larger, more active nektonic prey as well as zooplankton aggregations. Has been observed to feed passively by cruising with mouth agape. It feeds actively at dusk or after dark by opening their mouths and sucking in prey-rich water (Ref. 26319). A carnivore (Ref. 9137).
- Colman, J.G. 1997 A review of the biology and ecology of the whale shark. J. Fish Biol. 51(6):1219-1234. (Ref. 26319) http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=26319&speccode=2081