Did red tide kill this 26-foot long whale shark in Florida?

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Did red tide kill this 26-foot long whale shark in Florida?

(Photo)   Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission scientists are looking into what may have killed a 26-foot-long whale shark that washed up in Sanibel. (FWC / Courtesy)

What killed a 26-foot whale shark that washed up in southwest Florida?

That’s what officials from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission are looking into after the large shark was found on Sanibel Island.

FWC's Dr. Gregg Poulakis and Dr. Jose Castro of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration performed a necropsy on the whale shark, which is believed to be a male about 26-foot feet long, according to the FWC, which posted photos of the shark Wednesday.

“It was fairly fresh or newly deceased (not heavily decomposed),” the commission said.

The investigation is part of a response to an outbreak of red tide algae bloom that has been impacting all forms of marine life off southwest Florida. A FWC biologist also recently performed a necropsy on a goliath grouper. Red is a higher-than-normal concentration of algal bloom (microscopic plantlike organisms) that can be toxic.

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Sanibel Island, Florida, United States
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