Fish come in all shapes and sizes. Some measure at just a few inches long, while others, like the world’s biggest fish, are as big as two school buses! And, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that the largest fish is a gentle giant. Here are 12 of the biggest fish in the world
1. Whale Shark
2. Basking Shark
The Basking Shark is another giant of the seas, with adults growing up to 40 feet long. The basking shark doesn’t look as imposing as other large fish, but it’s still an impressive creature that feeds on plankton and small fish by sifting them through its gills.
The adult weighs at least 4.65 tons. Despite its weight, the basking shark can swim at speeds of up to 15 mph, and it is a popular target for sport fishing. However, the marlin fish, which moves at 68 mph in short bursts, beats the Basking Shark quickly.
The second-largest fish globally is a family member of the Cetorhinidae sharks, and you can find it in warm temperate and tropical seas.
3. Great White Shark
The Great White Shark is one of the most feared creatures in the sea, but it’s also one of the largest. Its name comes from its white belly, which allows it to blend with sunlight when swimming at depths.
Great Whites can grow up to 20 feet long, and they are found worldwide in coastal waters. They feed on fish, dolphins, whales, and even smaller sharks. The Great White Shark is classified as a member of the Lamnidae family of sharks and can weigh up to 5,000 pounds.
4. Tiger Shark
The Tiger Shark is one of the biggest fish globally that doesn’t eat plankton or other types of fish – it preys on dolphins, seals, sea turtles, and other sharks. It can grow up to 18 feet long and weigh more than 1,500 pounds.
You can find the Tiger Shark in tropical and subtropical waters around the world, and it has distinctive dark stripes on its body. It is a member of the Carcharhinidae family of sharks, and you can consider it a dangerous predator.
5. Giant Oceanic Manta Ray
The Giant Oceanic Manta Ray can grow up to 23 feet wide and weigh more than a ton. It is found globally in tropical and subtropical waters, where it feeds on plankton. Manta Rays are gentle creatures that belong to the Myliobatidae family of rays.
6. Ocean Sunfish
The Ocean Sunfish is the heaviest bony fish globally, growing up to 5,000 pounds and 1.8 meters in length. It has a striking appearance with its large fins and gray skin tone. The Ocean Sunfish is found in tropical and temperate waters and feeds on fish larvae, squid, and jellyfish by filtering them out of the water. It belongs to the family of fish known as Tetraodontidae and is a very sluggish swimmer.
7. Southern Sunfish
It comes with multiple names, including the sunfish, the common mola, and the moonfish. It’s a species of fish that can grow up to 9 feet wide and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds.
You can find this remarkable creature off the coasts of Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. It eats jellyfish, small fish, and other creatures by sucking them into its largemouth.
Fun fact: The Southern Sunfish doesn’t have a gas bladder and spine.
8. Beluga Sturgeon
The Beluga Sturgeon is the world’s largest freshwater fish, and it can grow up to 18 feet long and weigh more than a ton. You can find it in the Caspian Sea and other parts of Central Asia, where it feeds on small fish, shrimp, and other invertebrates. It belongs to the family of Acipenseridae. Unfortunately, they are on the verge of extinction due to overfishing.
9. Sharptail Mola
The Sharptail Mola is a species of sunfish that can grow up to 5 feet long and weigh more than 200 pounds.
You can find this species worldwide in tropical and temperate ocean waters, where it feeds on small fish, jellyfish, and other plankton. It is a member of the family of sunfishes known as Molidae. The Sharptail Mola attracts divers with its colorful streamer-shaped tail.
Fun fact: The Sharptail Mola looks like the Ocean Sunfish, but it has a tail that ends with an attractive streamer shape.
10. Hoodwinker Sunfish
The Hoodwinker Sunfish is a newly discovered species of sunfish that can grow up to 2.5 feet long and weigh up to 55 pounds. Since its discovery in 2014, only a few specimens got found.
The Hoodwinker Sunfish is mainly found in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, and it feeds on small crustaceans and other invertebrates. You can find it swimming upside down near the surface of the water, where its silvery belly gets exposed to sunlight. Many confuse it with the ocean sunfish due to its similar appearance.
This unusual fish is still under study, and more is unknown. It is a member of the family of sunfishes known as Molidae.
11. Reef Manta Ray
The Reef Manta Ray is a part of the Mobula genus, and it has dark spots and stripes features on its back. It can grow up to 20 feet wide and weigh more than 3,300 pounds. The Reef Manta Ray feeds on zooplankton in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.
You can find it swimming near the surface of the water, where it often comes into contact with divers. It is not known to be a danger to humans, and you consider them one of the most gentle species of rays.
This giant ray belongs to the family of Mobulidae and is in many parts of the world.
12. Greenland Shark
The Greenland Shark is a shark species that can grow up to 21 feet long and weigh more than 2,000 pounds. It is the second biggest shark in the world, after the Great White Shark. You can find the Greenland Shark in cold waters near the Arctic Circle, and it feeds on fish, seals, and other marine mammals.
This giant shark is a member of the Somniosidae family. It is a slow-moving predator that can survive in the cold waters of the Arctic Circle. The Greenland Shark has a lifespan of up to 400 years.
Fun Fact: Did you know its body has an increased urea concentration and other compounds that make its flesh toxic?
Frequently Asked Questions
What Was the Largest Fish Ever Caught?
The largest fish ever caught and verified by the IGFA (International Game Fish Association) was a 2,664 pound (1,208 kilograms) great white shark. It was caught off the coast of South Australia in 1959.
How big is a marlin?
Marlin is one of the most popular sport fish. Blue marlins can grow up to 12 feet long and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Females are larger than males. Males typically max out at about 7 feet. Marlin grow quickly and can reach 3-6 feet in length within 1 to years of their 10 year life.
The ocean life is fascinating and full of surprises. In this article, we looked at twelve species of the biggest fish found in different parts of the world. The Beluga Sturgeon, Sharptail Mola, Hoodwinker Sunfish, Reef Manta Ray, Greenland Shark, and more are all unique members of their species that deserve our attention.