Sharks’ ability to switch between different senses makes them expert hunters

Sharks’ ability to switch between different senses makes them expert hunters

The sharks' ability to switch between its different senses makes them what they are best known as - awesome hunters, according to a fresh study.

A team of researchers from Mote Marine Laboratory, the University of South Florida and Boston University looked at how sharks make use of their sense of vision, touch and smell to guide their behaviors.

The researchers studied three different types of sharks, viz. blacktip, bonnethead and nurse sharks. To observe the predators' normal hunting process, they placed the creatures in a specially designed tank. They blocked the sharks' senses one by one to study their roles in the creatures' hunting process.

They blocked sense of smell with nose plugs, vision with eye coverings, and used antibiotics to block their sense of touch and electrically insulating materials to block their electrosensory capabilities.

Different sharks reacted in different ways to their loss of different senses. With their noses blocked, blacktops and bonnetheads were able to find prey but nurse sharks failed to find its prey. When only vision was blocked, the sharks were still able to strike at the right time, thanks o their ability to detect water movements.

But, when the researchers blocked their electroreception, they could not capture prey.

Dr. Bob Hueter, co-author of the study, said, "What we found was amazing; not only in how the various senses mesh together but also how one shark species can vary from another. Not all sharks behave alike."

The threat that sharks pose to human being is immensely exaggerated. As per some recent estimates, sharks kill only five people annually. It means jellyfish, ants and even vending machines are more dangerous as they kill more people.


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