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Sharks assemble off Mexican coast

UP to 420 whale sharks recently gathered off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, forming the world's largest known assembly of this species, according to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

The discovery counters the widely held belief that whale sharks are solitary filter feeders that prefer to be alone in the open ocean. The impressive shark assembly proves they will gather for the right reasons. Food now appears to be the draw. "Whale sharks are the largest species of fish in the world, yet they mostly feed on the smallest organisms in the ocean, such as zooplankton," Mike Maslanka, biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and head of the Department of Nutrition Sciences, said. "Our research revealed that in this case, the hundreds of whale sharks had gathered to feed on dense patches of fish eggs."


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