VENICE — Scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory are asking the public to watch for whale sharks, the world's largest fish, in the Gulf of Mexico.
A whale shark was spotted May 8 about 20 miles off the coast of Venice.
The Herald-Tribune (http://bit.ly/10N5Khs) reports that Mote scientists are collecting reports of whale sharks, which can grow to 42 feet long and 24 tons, to look for patterns to their movements in local waters.
The whale sharks gather to feast on plankton from May to September off Mexico and in the Caribbean Sea, and come to the west coast of Florida most likely for blooms of plankton or fish eggs.
The lab is asking anyone who spotting a whale shark to call its Center for Shark Research at (941) 388-1827.
Scientists want spotters to note the number of sharks, time, date and location, with GPS coordinates if possible. The center also requests the spotter’s phone number, email and photos if available.