“Bonito Fish” The Best Friend of The Whale Shark

The Best Friend of The Whale Shark

The whale shark diet is very specific, they’ll gulp anything they’re not used to eating, which is why, whale sharks travel thousands of kilometers through the tropics every year in pursuit of their primary source of food, “plankton.” Between mid-May and mid-September, they assemble in the Mexican Caribbean where higher temperatures cause an abundance of this pelagic species.

According to researchers, the Caribbean region has one of the highest concentrations of whale sharks in the world due in large part to the amount of plankton and fish eggs, particularly those of the “bonito” fish, sometimes referred to as the “little tunny,” which is one of their favorite foods.

What is The Whale Shark Diet

There are two areas on the Caribbean sea where whale sharks love to feed: the waters between the island of Holbox and Cabo Catoche and the deeper waters at the east of Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres, which can be reached by boat from Cancun, and we actually have a great whale shark swimming tour, where we’ll provide you with all the needed gear in a two and a half hours approx trip.

Whale sharks feed on microscopic marine life called plankton and ocean animals called nekton, which is funny to lots of people because despite that the whale shark size is huge, they feed on the smallest creatures in the ocean, but different from other parts of the world, they come to the Caribbean waters in search of Bonito’s transparent eggs.

The Whale Shark Caribbean Best Friend

One of the most amazing congregations of whale sharks is located in the region now known as “Afuera”, a spot off the coast of Isla Mujeres, documented by Rafael de la Parra from Domino Project. The aerial surveys were able to document, in photographs and video, a vast new area where whale sharks congregate during the season in large numbers, but why exactly?

Plankton, the main whale shark diet interest, is built from a diverse variety of microscopic creatures, including fish eggs of many kinds, particularly Bonito’s eggs. After examining the samples, Rafael de la Parra’s team discovered that the plankton from Afuera is primarily made up of fish eggs, which are present in unusual abundance in locations where whale sharks cluster.

Their investigation revealed a large number of fish eggs, mostly Bonito’s eggs and some other Little Tunny. Given the enormous number of whale sharks drawn to the location rather than the profusion of zooplankton at the Cabo Catoche feeding site, in fact, the density of eggs was so high that the collection results were ready in just 30 seconds.

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