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Observations on the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) in the Dutch Caribbean / Adolphe Debrot; Ramon de Leon; Nicole Esteban; H. W. Eric Meesters

Caribbean Journal of Science, Volume: 47, Issue: 2-3, Pages: 344 - 399

Swansea University Author: Nicole, Esteban

Abstract

Records of whale sharks in the Caribbean are relatively sparse. Here we document 24 records of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus Smith 1882) for the Dutch Caribbean, four for the windward islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten, and twenty for the southern Caribbean leeward islands of Aruba, Cura...

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Published in: Caribbean Journal of Science
Published: 2013
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa21278
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Abstract: Records of whale sharks in the Caribbean are relatively sparse. Here we document 24 records of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus Smith 1882) for the Dutch Caribbean, four for the windward islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten, and twenty for the southern Caribbean leeward islands of Aruba, CuraƧao and Bonaire. The results suggest a higher abundance of whale sharks in the southern, leeward part of the Dutch Caribbean, likely associated with seasonal upwelling-driven productivity known for the southeastern Caribbean area. A bimodal seasonal pattern as documented for Venezuela was not as pronounced in our findings for the Leeward Dutch Caribbean and whale sharks were recorded in 9 months of the year. In the Windward Dutch Caribbean all (4) records so far were for the winter months of December-February. Most records involved large and solitary animals in contrast to areas elsewhere suspected of being nursery habitat. According to local sources, whale sharks were most often associated with feeding tunas and sea surface swarms of crab megalopae.
Keywords: Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, crab megalopae swarms, tuna schools, Dutch Caribbean
College: College of Science
Issue: 2-3
Start Page: 344
End Page: 399