Why do some sharks hunt in pairs

(ORDO NEWS) — A recent study showed that some species of sharks (such as hammerheads and great whites) can swim together in search of prey.

Most of us don’t think of sharks as social creatures, according to Florida International University biology professor Giannis Papastamatiou.

However, they actually hunt together in some cases. Papastamatiou and colleagues have been watching great white sharks swimming off the island of Guadalupe, off the coast of Mexico, since 2014. Experts want to find out whether such sharks really hunt together, and if so, how.

The social behavior of animals, the author emphasizes, can be much simpler than we used to imagine. For example, an individual may simply be close to a relative, because he can find food, which means that the chances of feasting on prey increase. That is, the exchange of information between animals occurs unintentionally.

As for white sharks, back in 2001, experts published an article describing how white sharks stay some distance apart to “eavesdrop” when they watch seals on Año Nuevo Island. Biologists then suggested that if one of the sharks killed an animal, then the rest would approach this prey to eat it too.

Further studies were carried out on white sharks in Australia. Scientists have found that these sharks often reappear at dive sites next to the same individuals. In other words, they prefer to be around familiar sharks.

As part of a study that has been ongoing since 2014, Giannis Papastamatiou, together with his colleague Mauricio Hoyos-Padilla, created a special tag for sharks. To do this, they attached special sensors to sharks that record the acoustic signals of animals.

That is, with the help of them you can understand which sharks communicate with each other and for how long. In addition, these tags included a video camera and motion sensors. In total, specialists managed to collect 312 hours of recording all the data.

It turned out that over the entire period, sharks were often within 30 meters of each other. True, many of these meetings of individuals were short and as if random. From long-term interactions, five cases were found. And one of them lasted even more than an hour.

In addition, it turned out that each shark behaves differently with others. For example, two sharks were especially social and found to bond with 12 and 16 other individuals. The other two, on the contrary, interacted with the others less frequently.

Another curious difference in the behavior of different sharks is hunting at different depths. Some individuals hunted in shallow water, while others hunted in depth.

In general, the findings suggest that sharks are indeed social animals. They interact with each other to “eavesdrop” on other sharks.


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