EVEN SHARKS MAKE FRIENDS
They have a reputation for being ruthless, solitary predators, but the opposite may be closer to the truth.
- Some sharks organize themselves into communities and subcommunities, forming long-term relationships with other sharks.
- Location, sex and the length of a particular shark appear to be the most common uniting factors among blacktip reef sharks.
- Sharks may bond with each other for group hunting, to reduce aggression, to avoid predation, and for other reasons.
Sharks have a reputation for being ruthless, solitary predators, but evidence is mounting that certain species enjoy complex social lives that include longstanding relationships and teamwork.
A new study, published in the latest Animal Behaviour,documents how one population of blacktip reef sharks is actually organized into four communities and two subcommunities. The research shows for the first time that adults of a reef-associated shark species form stable, long-term social bonds.
The image contrasts with usual reports on this species, which mistakenly sinks its sharp teeth into surfers and swimmers from time to time.