Residency and Local Connectivity of White Sharks at Liguanea Island: A Second Aggregation Site in South Australia?

RL Robbins1, *, M. Enarson1, RW Bradford2, WD Robbins3, AG Fox1
1 Fox Shark Research Foundation, 73 Ninth Avenue, Joslin, South Australia 5070;
2 CSIRO, Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 7001;
3 Wildlife Marine, Perth, Western Australia 6020

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© 2014 Robbins et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Fox Shark Research Foundation, 73 Ninth Avenue, Joslin, South Australia 5070; Tel: (08) 8363 1788; E-mail:


White sharks show a high degree of residency to specific aggregation sites, to which they return regularly over multiple years. Australian research has historically focused on single aggregation areas within each of the southern states where white sharks occur, but other key habitats likely exist and if so, will be important to identify to effectively monitor and protect threatened white shark populations. This study is the first to describe Liguanea Island as a second white shark aggregation site within South Australia, with residency periods and return visits recorded by multiple individuals. Eight sharks were detected at both Liguanea Island and the other known aggregation area in the state, the Neptune Islands, demonstrating movement between these locations. Sustained residency periods were recorded at both sites, although high periodic site fidelity was apparent with many individuals showing preference for the location at which they were tagged. Individual differences in site fidelity and residency patterns were found, although two sub-adult individuals were found to follow similar movement patterns. The implications of white shark movements, and the suggested identification of a second aggregation areas in close proximity are discussed.

Keywords: Acoustic telemetry, Carcharodon carcharias, movement, site fidelity, white shark.