Sharks attack underwater cam, with awesome results

Scientists get what they're calling "the first up-close views of predatory behavior by sharks in the wild" thanks to some obliging great whites. See it here.

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Wait. That doesn't taste like a seal! Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts submerged an 80-pound, 5-foot-long autonomous vessel equipped with six GoPro cameras into the waters off the west coast of Mexico last year to observe the behavior of tagged marine animals like great white sharks.

They got more than they bargained for -- and more than they could have hoped for -- when several great whites decided the yellow-colored REMUS SharkCam, as it's known, looked like a giant floating Twinkie and chomped down.

"Sharks have special electrosensory organs called ampullae of Lorenzini, which help them zero in on prey," said a National Geographic article about the video, which the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution just recently shared. That probably explains why the sharks attacked a meat-free metal tube floating in the water.

"White sharks are notorious for biting metal... objects that are emitting a strong electrical field," Gene Helfman, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia in Athens, told the magazine. "It must have been giving off some pretty damn delicious signals to stimulate them to not only bite once, but roll their eyes and chomp several times."

The video that resulted from the attacks demonstrates a common predatory behavior among sharks. They sneak beneath their prey and then rush up at it to catch it unaware. It certainly caught me unaware when those razor sharp teeth appeared out of nowhere to disturb the peaceful humming of the SharkCam. I hope it does the same to you.

Tags:
Crave
Sci-Tech
About the author

Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for Crave and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.

 

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