5 Fish Bigger than a Great White Shark

Written by Colby Maxwell
Published: October 25, 2022
© Fata Morgana by Andrew Marriott/Shutterstock.com
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The ocean is home to some pretty astounding creatures. Patrolling the deep are the largest creatures to have ever lived on earth. Among these oceanic giants are creatures like the blue whale and the great white shark. The great white shark is the largest predatory shark in the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other non-predatory sharks larger than they are. Today, we are going to look at 5 fish bigger than a great white shark. Some of these answers may just surprise you!

How big is a Great White Shark?

Great White shark breaching
Great white sharks have a terrific size.

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If we want to know what fish are larger than a great white shark, it’s probably important to know how big a great white is in the first place!

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When comparing great white sizes, it’s important to understand their sexual dimorphism. Males are generally much smaller than females, with some females being over 2x larger than males!

Male great whites can grow to between 1,200 and 1,700 lbs and measure between 11 and 13 feet. Female great whites can grow to between 4,200 and 5,000 lbs and measure between 15-16 feet, although some can get even larger.

1. Whale Shark

What do Whale Sharks Eat - Whale Shark Filter Feeding
Whale sharks are very large.

©Fata Morgana by Andrew Marriott/Shutterstock.com

Coming at probably no surprise to many, the whale shark is significantly larger than a great white. In fact, the whale shark isn’t just bigger than the great white but is the largest shark AND fish in the entire ocean. The only creatures that are larger than whale sharks are all types of whales. When you are talking about big fish, the whale shark is always in the conversation!

Whale sharks generally grow around 41,000 lbs, although they have been recorded growing larger in some instances. It’s rather hard to measure how much a whale shark weighs, but researchers can use some special equations to guess it pretty reliably. Thankfully, these sea-beasts aren’t carnivorous and don’t take a liking to humans as a good source. Whale sharks only filter feed and get their nutrition from tiny sea creatures they capture on filter pads in their mouths.

2. Basking Shark

Biggest Shark: Basking Shark
Basking sharks are the second largest of all sharks.

©Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.com

Another shark that is larger than the great white is the basking shark. Basking sharks are similar to whale sharks in that they get their food from filter feeding, allowing them to eat thousands of pounds of material in a short amount of time. Basking sharks are considered the second largest of all sharks and the second largest fish in the ocean. Once again, the only creatures larger than basking sharks are mammals like whales.

On average, basking sharks grow to 11,000 lbs, making them more than a few times the size of the average great white shark. Once again, it’s a good thing that they aren’t interested in humans because it would take a lot of us to feed these voracious eaters! Basking sharks are quite rare, however, and aren’t seen all that often.

3. Manta Ray

Biggest Fish: Giant Ocean Manta Ray
Manta rays are occasionally larger than female great white sharks.

©Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.com

Most people don’t think of manta rays when they think of fish, but these massive animals are officially considered fish even if they look a little strange. Giant manta rays are the largest manta rays in the world and often have a “wingspan” of over 29 feet.

The largest rays in the world have measured over 5,300 lbs, meaning they can be quite a bit larger than male great white sharks and occasionally larger than female great white sharks. Manta rays are often confused with stingrays, despite not having a stinger themselves. Although they are huge creatures that sweep across the ocean like a flying carpet, they don’t really have a way to defend themselves besides their sheer size.

4. Ocean and Southern Sunfish

Biggest Fish: Ocean Sunfish
Ocean sunfish is larger than nearly all the great white sharks.

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There are a few species of sunfish, but the ocean and southern sunfish are widely recognized as the largest. Sunfish are really strange-looking fish that can grow to massive sizes. Both species are recognized as the heaviest bony fish in the world, whereas a great white shark is considered a cartilaginous fish.

Sunfish can grow to 6,049 lbs, making them over 1,000 lbs more than nearly all great whites out there. Since sunfish are such slow-moving creatures, they are often attacked and eaten by sharks and fish alike.

5. Greenland Shark

The World's Oldest Greenland Shark
Greenland sharks are larger than most male great white sharks.

©Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock.com

The Greenland shark is one of the most mysterious fish in the world. This polar shark is a massive, slow-moving creature that lives in the deep and cold areas near the north pole and the arctic.

Greenland sharks can weigh up to 2,200 lbs, making them larger than most male great white sharks, although some females could be larger. Even still, the Greenland shark is considered a predatory shark as they eat other living creature, albeit smaller ones that it can easily catch. Since they live in such cold waters, Greenland sharks are sluggish and have never preyed on humans.

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What do Whale Sharks Eat - Whale Shark Filter Feeding
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About the Author

Colby is a freelance writer from Charlotte, North Carolina. When he isn't distracted by his backyard birdfeeder, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone around him about what he's recently learned. There's a whole world to learn about and Colby is content to spend his life learning as much as he can about it!

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