Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 343–348 | Cite as

Recent strandings and sightings of whale sharks in South Africa

  • Lynnath E. Beckley
  • Geremy Cliff
  • Malcolm J. Smale
  • Leonard J.V. Compagno


Available information on whale shark strandings around the coast of South Africa during the period 1984–1995 was collated. Stranded animals ranged in size from 3–11 m TL, most were immature and the sex ratio was even. Aerial observations and sightings by divers indicate that whale sharks are most abundant in South African waters during the austral summer and autumn months.

Rhincodon typus seasonality size sex ratio 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Bishop, J.M. & A.R. Abdul-Ghaffar. 1993. Whale shark observations off Kuwait's coast in 1992. J. Fish Biol. 43: 939–940.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Clark, E. 1992. Whale sharks — gentle monsters of the deep. National Geographic 182(6): 120–139.Google Scholar
  3. Joung, S.J., C-T. Chen, E. Clark, S. Uchida & W.Y.P. Huang. 1996. The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is a live-bearer: 300 embryos found in one ‘megamamma’ supreme. Env. Biol. Fish. 46: 219–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Penrith, M.J. 1972. Earliest description and name for the whale shark. Copeia 1972: 362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Shannon, L.V. 1989. The physical environment. pp. 12–27. In: A.I.L. Payne & R.J.M. Crawford (ed.) Oceans of Life off Southern Africa, Vlaeberg Publishers, Cape Town.Google Scholar
  6. Stevens, J.D. 1994. Whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, northern Western Australia. Chondros 5(3): 1–3.Google Scholar
  7. Taylor, G. 1989. Whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia — a preliminary study. Western Australia Naturalist 18: 7–12.Google Scholar
  8. Taylor, G. 1994. Whale sharks: the giants of Ningaloo Reef. Angus & Robertson, New York, 176 pp.Google Scholar
  9. Thomson, C. & J. Stevens. 1994. A whale of a shark. Landscope 10(2): 29–34.Google Scholar
  10. Wolfson, F.H. 1986. Occurrences of the whale shark, Rhincodon typus Smith. pp. 208–229. In: T. Uyeno, R. Arai, T. Taniuchi & K. Matsuura (ed.) Indo-Pacific Fish Biology: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Indo-Pacific Fishes, Ichthyological Society of Japan, Tokyo.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynnath E. Beckley
    • 1
  • Geremy Cliff
    • 2
  • Malcolm J. Smale
    • 3
  • Leonard J.V. Compagno
    • 4
  1. 1.Oceanographic Research InstituteDurbanSouth Africa
  2. 2.Natal Sharks BoardUhmlangaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Port Elizabeth MuseumHunewoodSouth Africa
  4. 4.South African MuseumCape TownSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations