If you are given a few seconds to name a sea creature that you would not want to find while swimming on the beach, it is very likely that you will get to a “shark”. This is a good response, and although shark attacks are relatively rare, it’s hard not to see the intimidating smile of a shark and see it as a threat alone.
With this kind of reputation, you could imagine that sharks have little to fear in the sea. They are the main predators that have existed for millions of years and are perfecting their skills to become the deadliest of the oceans. It turns out that even sharks have something to fear, and a new research effort reveals the only thing that scares the heart of a white shark: an orca.
The research, conducted with the help of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and published in the Scientific Reports magazine, has closely studied the habits of white sharks, killer whales and seals over a period of 27 years. The team monitored the movements of the wild populations of each species and found instances of interaction. It quickly became clear that the sharks had no interest in competing with orcas for food.
In fact, the white sharks tracked by scientists have not only abandoned the abandoned areas where the killer whales were found, but they have also refused to return for long periods of time, probably to avoid any possibility of confrontation with the species they fear.
“When faced with killer whales, white sharks immediately abandon their favorite game preserve and will not return for another year, even if killer whales are passing by,” said Dr. Salvador Jorgensen, of the Monterrey Aquarium. Bay, lead author of the study. Said in a statement.
The tracking of the animals was done using labels, which allowed the scientists to track their movements for long periods of time and determine when and where they were found.
“I think it shows that food chains are not always linear,” says Jorgensen. “The so-called lateral interactions between major predators are well known on Earth, but they are much harder to document in the ocean, and since this is so rare, we may need a little more time to fully understand the dynamics. ”
Source: Daily Times