(image credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The whale shark, at about 40 ft (12.5 meters) and 45K lbs (21 metric tons) is the largest fish on the planet. They are very vulnerable in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. These gentle creatures are filter feeders or top skimmers, which means that they will ingest oil that rises, i.e. the oil fraction of crude with its density lighter than water, while they skim for plankton and the occasional small fish. In recent years there have been huge gatherings of whale sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. Reports in 2008 and 2009 confirmed very large numbers sighted.
I was lucky to see a whale shark in the wild in the late 1980's, while on a diving trip in the Caymans. They are gentle creatures of truly awe-inspiring beauty.