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DNA evidence of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) feeding on red crab (Gecarcoidea natalis) larvae at Christmas Island, Australia

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dc.contributor Australian Institute Of Marine Science
dc.contributor University Of Western Australia
dc.contributor Australian Antarctic Division
dc.contributor Charles Darwin Univ
dc.contributor Australian Antarctic Div
dc.contributor Australian Inst Marine Sci
dc.contributor Charles Darwin University
dc.contributor Univ Western Australia Mo96
dc.contributor Australian Institute Of Marine Science (aims) en SCHULTZ, M. B. MEEKAN, M. G. JARMAN, S. N. MCLEAN, C. 2017-03-21T00:58:02Z 2013-02-28T06:42:41Z 2017-03-21T00:58:02Z 2019-05-09T01:05:00Z 2013-02-28T06:42:41Z 2017-03-21T00:58:02Z 2013-02-28T06:42:41Z 2019-05-09T01:05:00Z 2009-01-01
dc.identifier 8119 en
dc.identifier.citation Meekan MG, Jarman SN, McLean C and Schultz MB (2009) DNA evidence of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) feeding on red crab (Gecarcoidea natalis) larvae at Christmas Island, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research. 60:607-609. en
dc.identifier.issn 1323-1650
dc.description Link to abstract/full text - en
dc.description.abstract Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are thought to aggregate in nearshore waters around Christmas Island (105 degrees 37'E, 10 degrees 29'S) to consume the marine larvae of the endemic red land crab (Gecarcoidea natalis). However, there have been no direct observations of sharks feeding on crab larvae. Whale shark faeces were analysed using genetic testing to confirm the presence of crab larvae in their diet. Primers were designed for amplifying two Gecarcoidea natalis mitochondrial small-subunit (mtSSU) rDNA regions. Gel electrophoresis of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products amplified from whale shark faecal DNA produced bands of the expected size for G. natalis templates. Specificity of both primer sets for G. natalis mtSSU rDNA was expected to be high from comparisons with mtSSU rDNA regions from closely related crabs and we confirmed their specificity empirically. The amplification of fragments from faecal DNA of the same size as those produced from G. natalis DNA indicates that the whale shark had been feeding on G. natalis and that enough of the crab DNA survived digestion to be detected by these PCRs. Our study provides further evidence that aggregations of whale sharks in coastal waters occur in response to ephemeral but predictable increases in planktonic prey.
dc.description.sponsorship We thank the staff at Christmas Island National Park and Christmas Island Divers for support of this research project. Emma Ross, Peter Talbot and Claire Davies provided assistance in the field. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for useful comments on draft versions of the manuscript. BigWave Ltd, Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation, Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Australian Antarctic Division and the Australian Government Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts ( DEWHA) provided funding for this project. All research was conducted under research permits provided by DEWHA and in accordance with guidelines approved by the animal ethics committee of Charles Darwin University.
dc.description.uri en
dc.language English
dc.language en en
dc.relation.ispartof Null
dc.relation.ispartof Marine and Freshwater Research - pages: 60:607-609 en
dc.subject Behavior
dc.subject Fisheries
dc.subject Ningaloo Reef
dc.subject Pcr
dc.subject Diet
dc.subject Western-australia
dc.subject Faeces
dc.subject Limnology
dc.subject Marine & Freshwater Biology
dc.subject Oceanography
dc.subject Migrations
dc.title DNA evidence of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) feeding on red crab (Gecarcoidea natalis) larvae at Christmas Island, Australia
dc.type journal article en
dc.identifier.doi 10.1071/MF08254
dc.identifier.wos WOS:000267198500012

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