Diel use of a saltwater creek by white-tip reef sharks Triaenodon obesus (Carcharhiniformes: Carcharhinidae) in Academy Bay, Galapagos Islands
White-tip reef sharks are common inhabitants of the shallow waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands, where several known aggregation sites have become touristic attractions. With the aim to describe site fidelity and residency patterns of the white-tip reef sharks in a saltwater creek, we used the ultrasonic telemetry method. The study was undertaken in a saltwater channel South of Academy Bay, Santa Cruz Island, from May 2008-September 2009. A total of nine transmitters were attached to sharks and ultrasonic receivers were deployed at the inner and outside areas of the creek. From the total of fitted sharks, four lost their transmitters. The results obtained with the remaining sharks showed an elevated use of the inner area of the channel during the day, with more use of the external area during the night. However, none of the sharks were detected at the site every day, suggesting that they may have a number of preferred sites within their home range. More studies are needed to detail the home range and habitat use of this species, and to guide its protection level in the Academy Bay area.
Keywords: galapagos, residency, sharks, site fidelity, ultrasonic telemetry, triaenodon obesus