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Sometimes *they* look at us too

Check out this cool bit of footage from our recent research visits to Mexico to study whale sharks with the Georgia Aquarium team.  We were diving under a large aggregation of whale sharks when one of them broke from the surface to come and visit, checking out first one diver, and then the other, possibly attracted by the bubbles.  Whale sharks normally cruise around at the surface, largely indifferent to human presence except for occasionally rolling their eye across you as they pass, but this one was clearly interacting with us.  Colleague Betty Galvan tells me about a small (if 4m could be considered small) female that followed her for 20 minutes in Honduras one time, so interactive she described it as being like a puppy.  I suspect, when conditions are right, whale sharks can be curious or even inquisitive critters.  Its hard to prove, but I don’t think there’s much doubt from the video.  The aquarium has been conducting a behavioural study on the collection animals for some time, but more work on their behaviour in the natural setting is desperately needed.  Hopefully the aquarium study can refine the techniques needed to get out there and understand what they do in the field.


You can follow my YouTube channel here, or the aquarium’s channel here. Footage Copyright 2010 Bruce Carlson/Georgia Aquarium and used with permission

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