Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Sightings of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) off Angola and Nigeria

  • Caroline R. Weir (a1) (a2)

Knowledge of the whale shark, Rhincodon typus, in the south-east Atlantic off the coast of West Africa is limited to several bycatch and stranding records. Ten at-sea sightings of whale sharks from Angola (N = 9) and Nigeria (N = 1) are presented, consisting of nine sightings from offshore platforms and a single record from a helicopter. Eight of the records were from oceanic waters exceeding 1000 m, while single records originated from shelf-edge and continental shelf waters. The records support a year-round occurrence of whale sharks in offshore West African waters, although the majority (N = 8) of sightings occurred during the spring and summer months between September and January. Most sightings (N = 8) were of whale sharks estimated to be in the 5–7 m length-range. These records represent the first verified at-sea sightings in the West Africa region providing novel information on behaviour and distribution, and also confirm Nigeria as a range state for the whale shark.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: C.R. Weir, Ketos Ecology, 4 Compton Road, West Charleton, Kingsbridge, Devon TQ7 2BP, UK email:
Hide All
A.J. van Bennekom and G.W. Berger (1984) Hydrography and silica budget of the Angola Basin. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research 17, 149200.

J.G. Colman (1997) A review of the biology and ecology of the whale shark. Journal of Fish Biology 51, 12191234.

S.A. Eckert and B.S. Stewart (2001) Telemetry and satellite tracking of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, and the North Pacific Ocean. Environmental Biology of Fishes 60, 299308.

N.J. Hardman-Mountford , A.J. Richardson , J.J. Agenbag , E. Hagen , L. Nykjaer , F.A. Shillington and C. Villacastin (2003) Ocean climate of the South East Atlantic observed from satellite data and wind models. Progress in Oceanography 59, 181221.

S.F. Keenan , M.C. Benfield and J.K. Blackburn (2007) Importance of the artificial light field around offshore petroleum platforms for the associated fish community. Marine Ecology Progress Series 331, 219231.

J.D. Nelson and S.A. Eckert (2007) Foraging ecology of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) within Bahía de Los Angeles, Baja California Norte, México. Fisheries Research 84, 4764.

J.C. Sleeman , M.G. Meekan , S.G. Wilson , C.K. Jenner , M.N. Jenner , G.S. Boggs , C.C. Steinberg and C.J. Bradshaw (2007) Biophysical correlates of relative abundances of marine megafauna at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 58, 608623.

J.D. Stevens (2007) Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) biology and ecology: a review of the primary literature. Fisheries Research 84, 49.

S.G. Wilson , J.G. Taylor and A.F. Pearce (2001) The seasonal aggregation of whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia: currents, migrations and El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Environmental Biology of Fishes 61, 111.

F.H. Wolfson (1983) Records of seven juveniles of the whale shark Rhincodon typus. Journal of Fish Biology 22, 647655.

A. Wolfson , G. Van Blaricom , N. Davis and G.S. Lewbel (1979) The marine life of an offshore oil platform. Marine Ecology Progress Series 1, 8189.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Marine Biodiversity Records
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1755-2672
  • URL: /core/journals/marine-biodiversity-records
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 3 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 53 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.