Great White Sharks Observed for the First Time Changing Their Behavior in Different Marine Environments [Study]

Great white sharks are known for being some of the top predators of the ocean, where they hunt different marine animals ranging from fish to invertebrates and even marine mammals such as whales. Even in popular culture, white sharks are depicted as a killing machine with a taste for human blood. This is mainly the case during shark attacks on humans even in shallow waters.

Despite our growing understanding of sharks, scientists recently found that the said marine predators are not mindless beasts at all, particularly when it comes to their hunting behavior. This is according to a study led by researchers from different institutions across the United States, which determined for the first time that white sharks change their behavior in different marine environments.

White Shark Adaptive Behavior

Great White Sharks Observed for the First Time Changing Their Behavior in Different Marine Environments [Study]
(Photo : Photo by Gerald Schömbs on Unsplash)

In the study published in the journal Ecosphere on April 12, a research team from Murdoch University, Stanford University, and other institutions found a unique adaptive behavior of the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). Mainly, the team focused on the movement characteristics of the predatory shark species by monitoring multiple individual sharks in their natural habitats.

The team worked under the context that an animal’s movement is influenced by both internal and external factors, leading to individual-based, habitat-specific movement characteristics, according to the research paper. To understand this long-held notion, the US researchers tested if the movement characteristics of white sharks differ across several habitats along the central California coast.

The test was done by placing a tracker 21 great white sharks of all ages. The results show that the sharks are capable of plasticity in their movement and behavior when hunting their prey. For instance, the researchers found that sharks were more active during daytime than nighttime hours. Meanwhile, they were more active in areas where there were more fish than mammals present.

One of the study’s authors, Oliver Jewell, from the University of Western Australia, reported there were significant differences in the movements of the sharks from different marine environments. The results also took into account the size of the shark and the time of the day. Jewell explains that the sharks are capable of adapting their behavior rather than behaving the same wherever they are.

Also Read: Orca Attack Results in Beached Great White Shark Carcass with Liver Ripped Out

Are Great White Sharks Smart?

Great white sharks were previously thought to be less intelligent than some other marine animals, especially compared with killer whales or orcas (Orcinus orca), which are considered to be the ocean’s apex predators. Yet, shark experts over the past decade say that great white sharks are not only sociable and curious to their surrounding environment, but they are also intelligent.

In recent years, some scientists have supported the growing evidence that white sharks are not only about jaws and violence; rather, they are also capable of operating in several cognitive functions that are present in marine mammals like dolphins and orcas.

Related Article: Protected Fishing Areas Allow Great White Sharks to Grow up to 20 Feet Long and Tiger Sharks to 16 Feet

© 2024 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.