Blue Ocean Fellow, Dr. Demian Chapman, is in The Bahamas right now catching, tagging and releasing oceanic whitetip sharks. Here is his latest dispatch:
Heads up! Sharks are not known for popping their heads out of the water, but I have noticed that it is quite common for oceanic whitetips to do this.
Is it akin to spy-hopping behavior of killer whales or great white sharks? Probably not, because these two apex predators use spy-hopping to see prey that spend part of their time or land or ice, such as seals. Oceanic whitetips feed on prey that live exclusively underwater, like fish and squid.
I remember reading a paper by a Russian scientist who speculated that oceanic whitetips pick up scents in the air and that they may spy-hop to pick up windborne scents of floating animal carcasses. Who knows? We are free to speculate. One of the crew suggests the sharks are trying to startle us and make us fall in the water!
Stay tuned for more dispatches from The Bahamas!
See Dispatch #1 – Even Sharks Like Sushi