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Deep-diving behaviour of a whale shark Rhincodon typus during long-distance movement in the western Indian Ocean

Authors

  • J. M. Brunnschweiler,

    Corresponding author
    1. * Institute of Zoology, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH–8057 Zurich, Switzerland, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, U.K., § Manta Ray & Whale Shark Research Centre, Tofo Beach, Mozambique, Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, U.K. and Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, U.K.
      †Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Raemistrasse 101, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland. Tel.: +41 44 632 2071; fax: +41 44 362 5085; email: juerg@gluecklich.net
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  • H. Baensch,

    1. * Institute of Zoology, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH–8057 Zurich, Switzerland, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, U.K., § Manta Ray & Whale Shark Research Centre, Tofo Beach, Mozambique, Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, U.K. and Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, U.K.
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  • S. J. Pierce,

    1. * Institute of Zoology, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH–8057 Zurich, Switzerland, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, U.K., § Manta Ray & Whale Shark Research Centre, Tofo Beach, Mozambique, Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, U.K. and Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, U.K.
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  • D. W. Sims

    1. * Institute of Zoology, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH–8057 Zurich, Switzerland, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, U.K., § Manta Ray & Whale Shark Research Centre, Tofo Beach, Mozambique, Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, U.K. and Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, U.K.
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†Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Raemistrasse 101, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland. Tel.: +41 44 632 2071; fax: +41 44 362 5085; email: juerg@gluecklich.net

Abstract

A whale shark Rhincodon typus satellite tagged off the coast of Mozambique showed a highly directional movement across the Mozambique Channel and around the southern tip of Madagascar, a minimum distance of 1200 km in 87 days. Dives to depths well into the mesopelagic and bathypelagic zones (1286 m maximum depth) were recorded in a bathymetrically non-constraining habitat. The water temperature range recorded during the fish’s movement was 3·4–29·9° C.

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