Home Institution

University of Colorado-Boulder

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology


Rhincodon typus are the largest fish in the sea, but little is understood about this elusive species. They are known to annually aggregate in Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia—the location of this study. In order to better understand this species, scarring was observed on a subset of the population that aggregates in Ningaloo Reef. In addition, the scarring classification system was examined to determine if it is the most effective classification system. R. typus were observed, and photographed from April 9th-April 25th, 2014. These photos were then used for identification and scarring classification purposes. The analysis of the scars on R. typus indicated the current scarring classification system was not sufficient. Therefore, I reconstructed a more effective method of classification. This allows future scarring studies to better organize scarring type, and causation. Consequently, this classification system will help others who examine the scarring of R. typus to do so more effectively.


Marine Biology | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology