A whale shark protects itself with its enormous size and its skin of up to 6 inches in thickness. The whale shark grows very quickly. It is a filterfeeding species of shark.
The whale shark is in the Orectolobiformes family. It is of the Rhinocodontidae genus and is the Rhinocodon species. The credit for its name goes to the first person to describe it in 1828. That was Andrew Smith, and the described shark was a harpooned specimen in Table Bay, South Africa.
Other common names for the whale shark are the basking shark and "bagea ni oka" in Gela. The Spanish refer to it as "damero," while the French call it "chagrin." Whatever the name, the whale shark is impressive.