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UD researchers report new information on sand tiger shark social habits

Life is complex and full of layers. The layers — the people we meet, the things we do, the places we go — all create the story of our lives. Imagine documenting and identifying the names of every human you encountered or passed for a whole year. It would be an enormous task, but what kind of story would it tell about you? Now imagine documenting the same types of encounters between sharks.

A new paper published in the Nature journal, Scientific Reports, sheds light on sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus) and their annual migration habits along the Eastern Seaboard.

Using a novel tagging procedure, University of Delaware researchers collected tens of thousands of interactions between the 300 or so tagged sand tiger sharks and also documented interactions between sand tigers and seven other fish species.

Surprisingly, the researchers learned that sand tigers did not appear to be random loners spread out in the ocean, but instead formed groups of various sizes throughout the year. Some individuals even spent up to 95 consecutive hours together over the course of the year.