Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico hunt in shifts to avoid each other

4 weeks ago 15

By Krista Charles


A tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) disconnected the seashore of the Bahamas


The sharks successful the Gulf of Mexico person a hunting timetable. We antecedently thought that each sharks hunted astatine astir the aforesaid clip – dusk oregon dawn – but it turns retired that antithetic shark taxon sharing the aforesaid abstraction person their ain scheduled times for foraging. This mightiness assistance them stock resources and debar 1 another.

Karissa Lear astatine Murdoch University successful Perth, Australia, was mapping retired the activity patterns of sharks successful the eastbound Gulf of Mexico erstwhile she noticed determination were differences betwixt species.

This was unexpected, truthful she and her colleagues looked much intimately astatine whether antithetic taxon were partitioning their foraging times. They recovered that antithetic shark taxon with overlapping diets stock resources by foraging astatine antithetic times each day.

It was a astonishing discovery, arsenic this benignant of time-based assets part isn’t thought to beryllium communal successful nature, says Lear. “Very fewer instances of clip partitioning connected a regular standard person been observed,” she says. “However, this could beryllium much communal than we deliberation successful marine ecosystems, which haven’t been wide studied successful this mode due to the fact that tracking and observing underwater animals tin beryllium much difficult.”

Lear and her colleagues looked astatine the foraging behaviour of six coastal shark species. They tagged a full of 172 idiosyncratic animals with acceleration information loggers, past monitored their enactment levels implicit time, obtaining 3766 hours of data.

Bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) were astir progressive successful the aboriginal morning, portion tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) were retired much during midday. Afternoons were for sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) and evenings for blacktips (Carcharhinus limbatus). Both scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini) and large hammerheads (Sphyrna mokarran) were astir progressive during nighttime hours.

“It looks similar the bigger taxon – the tiger sharks – person their clip and nary 1 interferes with it, truthful they hunt whenever is champion for them,” says Georgia Jones astatine Bournemouth University successful the UK. “Then smaller taxon similar the blacktips volition enactment astir the times truthful that they’re not co-occurring with the tiger sharks, due to the fact that tiger sharks volition predate them.”

Journal reference: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2021.0816

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