Researchers at the University of Delaware set out recently in the hope of recapturing tagged sand tiger sharks. They enticed a large female but it was the bizarre manner by which they captured the predator that left them shaking their heads in disbelief.
After casting a small fish called a menhaden, a small shark called a dogfish was quick to snatch the bait, only to be swallowed by the much larger sand tiger shark. “The dogfish was about 3 feet long and completely swallowed by the sand tiger shark,” states a post on the university’s ORB Lab Facebook page.
The researchers had captured a shark within a shark, which prompted Aaron Martens to comment: “There’s gotta be some kind of ‘turducken‘ label for this kind of situation.”
The ORB Lab is short for Ocean Exploration, Remote Sensing, Biogeography Lab.
Scientists are trying to recapture tagged sharks, or tags that have popped off of sharks, to compile data for study.
Sand tiger sharks are vicious-looking because of the many dagger-like teeth protruding from their jaws.
Writes the ORB Lab in a separate Facebook post: “Their protruding spike-like teeth are perfect for spearing their favorite foods: bony fishes, small sharks, rays, squids, crabs, and lobsters.”
Sand tigers, which can measure to about 10 feet, lose an average of one tooth per day and boast 56 rows of teeth in each jaw “at any time waiting to replace lost or broken teeth.”
The sand tiger in the photo looks to have lost a couple of front teeth during its attack on the dogfish and/or its capture (and release) by scientists.
Quite a day of fishing!