Observations on the short-term movements and behaviour of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
- Cite this article as:
- Gunn, J., Stevens, J., Davis, T. et al. Marine Biology (1999) 135: 553. doi:10.1007/s002270050656
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The short-term movements and behaviour of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus Smith, 1828) during March 1994 and April 1997 are reported from data collected by acoustic tracking and archival tags at Ningaloo Reef on the north west coast of Western Australia. Sharks were tracked for up to 26 h and generally swam slowly at ≃0.7 m s−1 parallel to the reef edge; occasionally they swam in a wide arc adjacent to passes in the reef. All tracked sharks made regular dives through the water column, mostly from the surface to near the bottom. These dives did not appear to be related to hydrographic features, and the sharks were probably searching the water column for food. Most sharks were accompanied by other fishes, usually the golden trevally Gnathanodon speciosus.