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Marine Megafauna Foundation


Whale Shark & Entourage: All The Pretty Fishies

Written by Marine Megafauna Foundation

Field Notes Mafia Island Photo Essays Research in Action Whale Sharks

By Simon Pierce



One of the fairly unique things about Mafia Island, Tanzania is the sheer number of fish that are frequently associated with the whale sharks.


There’s a whale shark in there… somewhere…


The sharks, and the small fish, are all chasing the same prey: small (~1 cm) sergestid shrimps. When the shrimp move inshore over summer, the sharks and the fish follow them in. Predatory fishes, such as cobia and mackerel, join the migration.



I guess it makes sense for the smaller fish to ‘team up’ with the sharks for protection. I doubt the sharks get much out of the deal – after all, these small fishes are direct competitors – but it does look really cool.



Here’s some shots of a single shark we saw this week. I changed the photos to black and white because vis was a bit crap I am an artist.



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