Female whale sharks have officially been named the biggest fish in the sea.
The average adult length of a whale shark is eight or nine metres – that’s about 28 feet.
But for nearly 10 years, there has been an ongoing debate amongst marine experts – is the male or female whale shark bigger?
According to a new study which was published in Frontiers in Marine Science, the 10-year long analysis has concluded…and females are officially bigger.
Their average length is now 14m (metres).
That’s taller than a double-decker bus, and almost as high as the letters of the Hollywood sign, which are 15m!
A team of fish biologists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science tracked 54 individual whale sharks over the course of a decade and recorded more than 1,000 measurements with stereo-video cameras.
Biologist Brett Taylor, who wrote the report, explained how it was done: “It’s basically two cameras set up on a frame that you push along when you’re underwater.
“It works the same way our eyes do – so you can calibrate the two video recordings and get a very accurate measurement of the shark.”
The team also discovered that the size increase of female whale sharks could help when it comes to producing babies.
Only one pregnant whale shark has ever been documented, but it held up to 300 babies! Most sharks carry between two and 12.