Tag: Whale Shark (Rhincodon Typus)

Of all the species of marine-life encountered in the Gulf of Thailand, the Whale Shark (Rhincodon Typus) is arguably THE main attraction in the opinion of most people.

The largest of all living fish, the Whale Shark can attain lengths of up to 12m (although there are unconfirmed reports of even larger individuals).

Whale Sharks feed by filtering small "bait fish" and plankton through their massive mouths and are therefore harmless to humans. Their curious nature often sees them approaching divers and snorkelers, ensuring an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience for those lucky enough to encounter one.

Although considered to be nomadic by nature, the Koh Phangan/Koh Tao area has a number of juvenile individuals which have been sighted over a number of seasons, suggesting there may be a "resident" population in the Gulf of Thailand.

As part of a world-wide effort to fully understand and protect this endangered species, it is crucial to gather as much information as possible regarding their migratory habits.

In order to achieve this, it is critical that as many individuals as possible are identified as a means of tracking their movements.

The Dive Inn has joined other local dive operators (in addition to many others world-wide) in actively contributing to the identification of any Whale Sharks encountered in conjunction with the Ecocean project.

Due to the fact that all Whale Sharks posses a uniquely spotted skin pattern, their unique markings can be "mapped" and used to match encounters with the same individual in the future.

If you would like further information on the Ecocean Whale Shark Project, or are able to contribute in any way, please visit the website at www.whaleshark.org

Although there will be a selection of Whale Shark photos in this section, i have created a separate area dedicated to the Whale Sharks identified via the Ecocean Whale Shark Project.

Of all the species of marine-life encountered in the Gulf of Thailand, the Whale Shark (Rhincodon Typus) is arguably THE main attraction in the opinion of most people.

The largest of all living fish, the Whale Shark can attain lengths of up to 12m (although there are unconfirmed reports of even larger individuals).

Whale Sharks feed by filtering small "bait fish" and plankton through their massive mouths and are therefore harmless to humans. Their curious nature often sees them approaching divers and snorkelers, ensuring an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience for those lucky enough to encounter one.

Although considered to be nomadic by nature, the Koh Phangan/Koh Tao area has a number of juvenile individuals which have been sighted over a number of seasons, suggesting there may be a "resident" population in the Gulf of Thailand.

As part of a world-wide effort to fully understand and protect this endangered species, it is crucial to gather as much information as possible regarding their migratory habits.

In order to achieve this, it is critical that as many individuals as possible are identified as a means of tracking their movements.

The Dive Inn has joined other local dive operators (in addition to many others world-wide) in actively contributing to the identification of any Whale Sharks encountered in conjunction with the Ecocean project.

Due to the fact that all Whale Sharks posses a uniquely spotted skin pattern, their unique markings can be "mapped" and used to match encounters with the same individual in the future.

If you would like further information on the Ecocean Whale Shark Project, or are able to contribute in any way, please visit the website at www.whaleshark.org

Although there will be a selection of Whale Shark photos in this section, i have created a separate area dedicated to the Whale Sharks identified via the Ecocean Whale Shark Project.

Alan's picture
Whale Shark T-047

In this shot of Whale Shark T-047, taken at Sail Rock, the healed scars on the caudal fin are visible.

Alan's picture
Whale Shark T-047

This photo of Whale Shark T-047, taken at Sail Rock, clearly shows the unusual scrape marks on her underside.

Alan's picture
Whale Shark T-044

Although the left side is the shot that will generate an identification number for a previously unsighted Whale Shark, a good right side is also very important in case the shark is seen in the future and only the right side is photographed.

Johnny Williams did a great job in getting clear photos of both sides of this individual

Alan's picture
Whale Shark T-052

This left-side shot, focusing on the area between the gills and the rear edge of the pectoral fin is the perfect zone for spot identification using the Ecocean Whale Shark project database.

Alan's picture
Whale Shark T-052

Whale Shark (Rhincodon Typus) T-052 is a small, 2 - 3m female that appeared at Sail Rock in October 2009. Dr. Dhanin Hiriotappa (Taeng to everyone) is an excellent underwater photographer and thankfully she got these perfect shots which led to this shark receiving a unique indentification number via the Whale Shark project.

Alan's picture
Whale Shark T-051

Whale Shark T-051 turns and gently descends into deeper water during this encounter at Sail Rock.

Alan's picture
Whale Shark T-051

The visibility at Sail Rock was not so good on the day that Whale Shark T-051 appeared, however it was just about possible to get the shots required for "spot-mapping" and subsequent identification.

Alan's picture
Whale Shark T-045

Unfortunately, this photograph of Whale Shark T-045 shows the damage being caused by the piece of rope attached around the base of her tail. The cut at this point is already deep, and the rope could potentially remain in place for a number of years...

Alan's picture
Whale Shark T-045

This left-side photograph of Whale Shark T-045 gives a good view of her unusual line patterns.

Alan's picture
Whale Shark T-042

Whale Shark (Rhincodon Typus) T-042, passes overhead during an encounter at Sail Rock.