The Biggest Fish in the Sea! Introducing.. Rhincodon typus!



The map below shows where whale sharks can generally be found!

    The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a species that is distributed throughout

warm and tropical seas. In 1986, R.typus was said to be very unpredictable and there

was not a credible source of data about R.typus sightings (Stevens, 2007). From that

time to the present, our knowledge about their biology and ecology is still unclear..

Though unclear, some locations can be predicted now because of further research on

this species. R.typus has a pelagic habitat, meaning a habitat within the water

column. From studies, R.typus prefer water temperatures from 21-25 with a

certain percentages of salinity, where zooplankton can become abundant, which is a

major food source for R.typus (Stevens, 2007).

They like a generally warm habitat,

and therefore tend to migrate very

often, due to environmental changes.

This is why R.typus are very

unpredictable and are only known to

stay in a certain area for a short

period of time. One common area

where R.typus is found is the Meso-

American Barrier Reef System

(MBRS) which stretches from the

Yucatan Peninsula all the way to Honduras. This area is very popular for marine

tourists because of R.typus activity. The MBRS is very diverse with different currents

and a diverse population of prey. R.typus is known to move closer inshore to feed on

zooplankton, offshore to feed on tuna eggs, and larger R.typus have been observed

in the northern Gulf of Mexico as well as the MBRS. There seems to be size

segregation in the R.typus community. There were no whales of less than 2m

recorded in the northern Gulf of Mexico. There seems to be a population of larger

R.typus in the Atlantic Ocean, and is speculated that the larger R.typus move into

the Atlantic Ocean to breed.


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