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Posted Thu May 20 2010: from AP, via DesdemonaDespair:
Whale shark, world's biggest fish, very vulnerable to oil spill
The world's biggest fish may be highly vulnerable to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and one of its favorite feeding grounds is in the area of the spill. Whale sharks feed on the surface, sucking plankton, fish eggs and small fish into their mouths. Surface oil could clog the cartilage filter pads that direct food to the back of their throat, and could coat their gills while they feed, said Eric Hoffmayer, a researcher at the University of Southern Mississippi who has been studying whale sharks in the northern Gulf since 2002. "If it did get their gills coated, I can only imagine they would suffocate relatively quickly," he said. More than one-third of all whale shark sightings in the northern Gulf since 2002 have been off the mouth of the Mississippi River, Hoffmayer said. "The mouth of the river is the primary area where these things show up. Year after year after year," he said. "This is a prime feeding area for them."
[Read more stories about: oil issues, toxic water]

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'Doc Jim says:
Just one more nomenclature confusion removed from our lexicon!
Not a whale, not a shark -- it's a fish?

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