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Rare Whale Shark Spotted off Stuart Beach

STAURT, Fla. — A rare sighting of a 25 to 30 foot whale shark swimming south of Stuart Beach was made the morning of Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021.

The whale shark was spotted in about 40 feet of water close to the beach.

Whale sharks are endangered and usually inhabit the northern waters surrounding Florida during the summer months and migrate to the Caribbean in the winter.
The whale shark is a slow-moving, filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known extant fish species. A whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a fish and ‘breathes’ via its gills. The name “whale shark” comes from the fact these animals are so large (as big as whales) and that they filter-feed (like large humpback whales). However, they have cartilage instead of bone – a true shark.

Rich West of Single Fin Photo took a video of the whale shark just after sunrise.