Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sharks stun sardine prey with tail-slaps

Date:
July 10, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Thresher sharks hunt schooling sardines in the waters off a small coral island in the Philippines by rapidly slapping their tails hard enough to stun or kill several of the smaller fish at once, according to new research.

A sequence of still images taken from an overhead tail-slap hunting event.
Credit: Oliver SP, Turner JR, Gann K, Silvosa M, D'Urban Jackson T (2013) Thresher Sharks Use Tail-Slaps as a Hunting Strategy. PLoS ONE 8(7): e67380. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067380

Thresher sharks hunt schooling sardines in the waters off a small coral island in the Philippines by rapidly slapping their tails hard enough to stun or kill several of the smaller fish at once, according to research published July 10 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Simon Oliver of the Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project, and colleagues from other institutions.

Related Articles


The researchers tracked shark activity with handheld video cameras and analyzed 25 instances of tail-slapping to stun prey. Sharks seemed to initiate the behavior by drawing their pectoral fins inward to lift their posteriors rapidly, followed by tail-slapping forceful enough to stun or kill several prey, and even cause dissolved gases to bubble out of the water. After a successful hunting event, sharks ate an average of 3.5 sardines.

For large marine predators, being able to stun more than one prey at a time is likely to be a more efficient means to hunt than chasing after many small fish in a school. Dolphins and killer whales are known to use tail-slaps to control or stun prey, while humpback and sperm whales use tail-slaps to communicate over long distances.

"This extraordinary story highlights the diversity of shark hunting strategies in an ocean where top predators are forced to adapt to the complex evasion behaviours of their ever declining prey," said Dr Simon Oliver the study's lead investigator.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Simon P. Oliver, John R. Turner, Klemens Gann, Medel Silvosa, Tim D'Urban Jackson. Thresher Sharks Use Tail-Slaps as a Hunting Strategy. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (7): e67380 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067380

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Sharks stun sardine prey with tail-slaps." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710182934.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, July 10). Sharks stun sardine prey with tail-slaps. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710182934.htm
Public Library of Science. "Sharks stun sardine prey with tail-slaps." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710182934.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) A photographer got the shot of a lifetime, or rather an octopus did, when it grabbed the camera and turned it around to take an amazing picture of the photographer. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts. The circus&apos; parent company, Feld Entertainment, told the AP exclusively that the acts will be phased out by 2018 over growing public concern about the animals. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins