Sharks are Sociable!

Although researchers, divers and even casual observers have long noted grouping patterns in sharks, until now scientists believed this behavior was merely a passive grouping near desirable resources. New research published this month in Animal Behaviour suggests that grouping patterns observed in sharks are actually a sign of sociability.

Specifically, the researchers observed that a population of blacktip reef sharks outside Moorea Island (French Polynesia) formed stable, long-term bonds in the form of several communities. Analysis of extensive data-gathering efforts and photography confirmed that the relationships among sharks were both meaningful and mutually beneficial.

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Researchers hypothesized that these relationships and communities minimize aggression between sharks, provide some sense of protection from outsiders, and facilitate cooperative hunting.

Image Source: PacificKlaus/Flickr