|Distribution,seasonality, lengths, and feeding behaviour of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) observed in New Zealand waters|
Duffy, C.A.J. (2002). Distribution,seasonality, lengths, and feeding behaviour of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) observed in New Zealand waters. N.Z. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 36: 565-570
In: New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. Royal Society of New Zealand: Wellington. ISSN 0028-8330, more
Data from 36 whale shark (Rhincodon typus Smith, 1828) sightings off north-east North Island, New Zealand are summarised. Sightings were concentrated over the outer shelf and shelf break in areas influenced by the East Auckland Current at sea surface temperatures (SST) of 21-24°C. Sightings occurred from late spring to early autumn (November- April) but were most frequent in midsummer (February) when upwelling along the north-east shelf is weakest. The data indicate whale sharks occur off north-east New Zealand most summers, including those when SST is colder than usual. A cluster of sightings and three observations of whale sharks feeding on schools of anchovy (Engraulis australis) near Whale Island, Bay of Plenty, suggest whale sharks may aggregate seasonally in this area. Estimated total lengths (TL) of 26 whale sharks ranged from 3.5 to 15 m, with 73% between 6 and 9 m TL.