Observation of Whale Shark, Rhincodon typus (Smith, 1828) off Goa, Northern Arabian Sea

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Observation of Whale Shark, Rhincodon typus (Smith, 1828) off Goa, Northern Arabian Sea
(Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences, - Dec 2018)

The present observation illustrates about the incidental sighting of the whale shark, Rhincodon typus (Smith, 1828) on 16th January 2018 in the coastal waters of Goa (15°47.086΄ N; 073°05.120΄ E) at a depth zone of about 74 m onboard the research vessel FORV Sagar Sampada during the cruise No 370. The sightings were confirmed by visuals in real-time and photographs. This individual was characterized by pale yellow or white rounded to elongated spots on a dark grey background. Satellite derived oceanographic parameters such as Sea Surface Temperature (SST), Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) and Chlorophyll ‘a’, (Chl-a) for the location where the animal was recorded, have shown different patterns from rest of the area and thus provided an insight into the preferred environmental conditions and foraging behavior of this species. The sighting location, off the Goa coast, was characterized by high hlorophyll-a (1.2-1.8 mg/m-3), dissolved oxygen (4 ml/l) in the 50 m depth and high concentrations of phytoplankton dominated by green Noctiluca scintillans. Present sighting merit the record of R. typus with the probability of foraging on the high abundance of phytoplankton in the coastal waters of the
Arabian Sea. Therefore, the animal appeared to move along the gradient zones for its seasonal aggregations.