29/08/2008Happy B-Day Whale Shark! Big hug from Cancun and Holbox

The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) declared August 30th as the Whale Shark Day.

Cancun recognizes and backs the efforts made by CONAMP in favor of the conservation of the whale shark as one of the privileged areas enjoying the presence of this fabulous creature.

The whale shark is the biggest fish in the world. It has a massive, fusiform body that can reach sizes of even 18 meters.

Its coloration is gray or dark blue on its back, with circular spots and light colored horizontal and vertical lines (white or yellowish) and a white belly. These patterns give the whale shark its local name: “domino.” In other areas, its appearance makes it known as “checkerboard”. Each individual displays a unique pattern which allows its identification, since it does not change with growth.

Unlike other sharks, its mouth is on the front end of its wide head and occupies the entire width of its body, facilitating plancton feeding. Its eyes are very small and are located on the lateral end of the head.

The whale shark moves slolwly near the water surface, since it filters great amounts of water to retain an ample variety of plancton and necton, including small crustaceans like krill, crab larva and copeados, small fish like sardines, anchovetas, mackerel and ocasionaly prey of greater size like small tunas and squid. Phytoplankton and seaweeds could also be a componentary part of its diet.

Source: Atlantic Whale Shark Project
www.domino.conanp.gob.mx
Proyecto Domino