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For more than a century, the two largest bodies of water in Nicaragua, Lake Nicaragua and its smaller companion, Managua, have engaged naturalists from several disciplines. Perhaps their appeal has been as curiosities because of the occurrence of fish with marine affinities in the larger lake, especially a dangerous shark. The charm has been in Nicaragua or Cocibolca, rather than Managua, properly called Xolotlán. Even though the latter is saltier, it has no elasmobranchs or tarpons.
The lakes, and specifically the larger, cover the greatest expanse of any body of water between Lake Titicaca, Bolivia-Peru, and the Laurentian Great Lakes 35° farther north. Despite this, very little limnologic work has been published concerning them.