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 Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.


Age and growth of the whale shark Rhincodon typus in the northwestern Pacific

Hua Hsun HSU, Shoou-Jeng Joung, Robert Hueter, Kwang-Ming Liu

Abstract

This study estimated age and growth of the largest extant fish, the whale shark Rhincodon typus by counting vertebral band pairs from 92 specimens comprising 43 males (2.68-9.88 m total length [TL]), 30 females (1.60-7.02 m TL), and 19 unsexed individuals (2.83-6.67 m TL) taken by Taiwanese commercial fisheries during 2001-2006. Growth band pairs up to 25 and 42 were counted for a 6.38 m TL female and a 9.88 m TL male, respectively. Using marginal increment ratio and centrum edge analysis, band pairs were postulated to be formed twice a year. The two-parameter von Bertalanffy growth function provided the best fit without significant differences between sexes. Growth parameters were calculated for both sexes as L∞ = 16.80 m TL, k = 0.037 yr-1; annual band pair formation would modify these parameters to L∞ = 15.34 m TL, k = 0.021 yr-1. Using data reported in another study for 50% size at maturity for males (8.1 m TL), and the largest immature and smallest mature females (8.7 and 9.6 m TL, respectively) in the Indo-Pacific, these TLs converted to ages at maturity of 17 yr for males and 19-22 yr for females. The longevity was calculated to be 80.4 yr.

MF13330  Accepted 14 April 2014
 
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