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New whale shark discovered in Thailand

By Leonard Ho - Posted Apr 01, 2014 09:00 AM
An unbelievable whale shark was observed off the coast of Ko Samui, Thailand. The yet undescribed species is similar in physiology to the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) and may become only the second Rhincodontidae. It is differentiated from R.typus on the basis of its unique colour pattern.
New whale shark discovered in Thailand

A new Rhincodon sp.?

A team of Conversation International scientists documented the solitary 12.4 meter long whale shark on March 18, 2014.  Genetic analysis from tissue samples collected from an in situ biopsy will be used to determine whether this specimen is a new species, an aberrant phenotype, or a hybrid (possibly Rhincodon typus x Amphiprion percula).  A second expedition to Ko Samui is planned for late May, 2014, when scientists hope to locate and geotag this specimen for further study.

The whale shark was last sighted in the Sula Sea 50 kilometers northeast of Mindanao swimming alongside a blue whale companion.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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