List of largest cartilaginous fish

Posted in Biology

The largest living cartilaginous fish, of the order Orectolobiformes, is the whale shark, verified in size at up to 13.6 m (45 ft) long and 22 tons (44,000 lb). There are many accounts of larger whale sharks, but most are probably overestimated.

  • Whaler sharks (Carcharhiniformes). The largest species of this order is the tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier). This species can attain a weight of at least 1527 kg (3,360 lb) and length of possibly as much as 6.4 m (21 ft).
  • Mackerel sharks (Lamniformes). The largest living species is the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus), also the second largest fish. The maximum, verified size for this shark is 12.4 m (41 ft) and weight is 16 tonnes (17.6 tons). An even larger lamnid, generally regarded as the largest predatory fish ever, is the Megalodon, a relative of the great white shark. The top size of this species has probably been exaggerated in the past, but a large Megalodon probably reached 16 m (52.8 ft) and weighed 36 tonnes (40 tons).
  • Stingrays & allies (Myliobatiformes). Both the largest species of this order and the largest of the rays is the manta ray (Manta birostris). This peaceful leviathan can reach a size of 3 tonnes (3.3 tons), a "disk" width of 7.6 m (25 ft) and a length of 5 m (16.5 ft).
  • Sawfish (Pristiniformes). These little known cartilaginous fish can often reach huge sizes. The largest bulk recorded for a sawfish is for the southern sawfish (Pristis perotteti), which weighed 2.4 tonnes (2.7 tons). At this weight, the sawfish must have measured nearly 9 m (30 ft).
  • Skates (Rajiformes). The largest and most diverse order of rays' largest species is the giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis). The top size of the species is 250 kg (550 lbs) and 3.1 m (10.2 ft).
  • Dogfish (Squaliformes). The largest member of this order is the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus). This species probably reaches 7.2 m (24 ft) and large specimens weigh over 1,364 kg (3,000 lb).
  • Angelsharks (Squatiniformes). The largest of the bottom-dwelling angelsharks is the monkfish (Squatina squatina), attaining a size of 100 kg (220 lb) and 2.42 m (8 ft).