A project of Proyecto Domino.
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Track of whale shark 'Cora' that was tagged with a SPOT5 tag on August 28th, 2010.
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Species: Whale Shark
Life Stage: Adult
Release Date: 2009-08-28 15:55:00
Release Location: NE of Isla Mujeres
Last Location: 2009-09-28 12:00:00
Cora is a female whale shark that was estimated to have a total length of 7.5 m (and may have been pregnant). She was named after the heart-shaped pattern ("corazon" in Spanish) of spots on her left side.
View of the heart-shaped pattern above Cora's left pectoral fin.
Cora was tagged with a towed SPOT5 tag on August 29th, 2009 at a location NNE of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The transmissions that we received from her satellite tag indicated that she remained in the same general area as she was tagged until September 15th. At that point she began moving in a northwesterly direction. On September 24th her path changed again and she began moving in a southwesterly direction. Soon after that point it became apparent to us that Cora's tag must have detached from her as the data received after September 28th did not have the characteristics of a tag attached to a diving shark. We cannot be certain how the tag became detached.
Cora with SPOT tag on the left side of her 1st dorsal fin and PAT tag on the right side (at fin base)
However, the good news is that we also applied a pop-up archival transmitting tag (PAT) to Cora. This type of tag archives depth, light, and temperature data and then transmits this information in summary form after the tag detaches from the shark and floats to the surface on a pre-determined date. Fortunately for us, the PAT tag did pop-up and began transmitting its stored data on December 18th, 2009. Subsequent analyses revealed that Cora dove down to at least 1,672 m on a journey that took her into the central Gulf of Mexico followed by an easterly migration that brought her to the waters northwest of Cuba.