Whale shark in Galapagos Islands
Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest fish in the world and it is catalogued as a Vulnerable Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
An inhabitant of warm and tropical seas, it is a very popular touristic resource among recreational divers all over the world. However, in some Asiatic countries, it is very appreciated for the quality of its meat, which has lead to the decline of its populations due to overfishing.
Whale sharks are known for carrying out long transoceanic migrations throughout their lifes, during which they get close to the shore for different and still not well known reasons. Some places like Gladden Spit in Belize, or Ningaloo Reef in Australia seem to be really important for this species, as large aggregations of these individuals can be found on a regular basis.
Similarly, Darwin’s Arch, located in the northernmost part of the Galapagos Archipelago (Ecuador), seems to be another especial place within the life cycle of this species. Every year between June and December large numbers of whale sharks can be found at this spot for reasons we still do not understand. However it is known that the majority of individuals that show up at this place are pregnant females, so it is believed that Darwin’s Arch may play an important role within their reproduction cycle.