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How large is the world's largest fish? Measuring whale sharks Rhincodon typus with laser photogrammetry

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Abstract:

Laser photogrammetry was found to be a promising new cost-effective technique for measuring free-swimming whale sharks Rhincodon typus. Photogrammetric measurements were more precise than visual size estimates by experienced researchers, with results from the two methods differing by 9· 8 ± 1· 1% (mean ±s.e.). A new metric of total length and the length between the fifth gill and first dorsal fin (r2 = 0· 93) is proposed to facilitate easy, accurate length measurements of whale sharks in the field.

Keywords: demography; growth; size; visual estimate

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2010.02861.x

Affiliations: 1: Marine Megafauna Foundation, Praia do Tofo, Mozambique 2: Centre for Spatial Environmental Research, The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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