Whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, aggregate around offshore platforms in Qatari waters of the Arabian Gulf to feed on fish spawn.

PloS one

PubMedID: 23516456

Robinson DP, Jaidah MY, Jabado RW, Lee-Brooks K, Nour El-Din NM, Al Malki AA, Elmeer K, McCormick PA, Henderson AC, Pierce SJ, Ormond RF. Whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, aggregate around offshore platforms in Qatari waters of the Arabian Gulf to feed on fish spawn. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(3):e58255.
Whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, are known to aggregate to feed in a small number of locations in tropical and subtropical waters. Here we document a newly discovered major aggregation site for whale sharks within the Al Shaheen oil field, 90 km off the coast of Qatar in the Arabian Gulf. Whale sharks were observed between April and September, with peak numbers observed between May and August. Density estimates of up to 100 sharks within an area of 1 km(2) were recorded. Sharks ranged between four and eight metres' estimated total length (mean 6.92 ± 1.53 m). Most animals observed were actively feeding on surface zooplankton, consisting primarily of mackerel tuna, Euthynnus affinis, eggs.