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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 621:221-227 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12981

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Hunting behaviour of white sharks recorded by animal-borne accelerometers and cameras

Yuuki Y. Watanabe1,2,*, Nicholas L. Payne3,4, Jayson M. Semmens5, Andrew Fox6, Charlie Huveneers7

1National Institute of Polar Research, Tachikawa, Tokyo 190-8518, Japan
2Department of Polar Science, SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies), Tachikawa, Tokyo 190-8518, Japan
3University of Roehampton, Holybourne Avenue, London SW15 4JD, UK
4Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
5Fisheries and Aquaculture Centre, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 49, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
6Fox Shark Research Foundation, Adelaide, South Australia 5070, Australia
7College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Bedford Park, South Australia 5042, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Hunting large, fast-moving mammals by top predators often involves highly energetic burst locomotion, and studying such behaviour can reveal how physiological capacity shapes predator-prey relationships. Although increasingly sophisticated animal-borne devices have allowed the recording of terrestrial predators’ behaviour (e.g. cheetahs) hunting herbivorous mammals, similar approaches have rarely been applied to marine predators hunting mammals. Here, we deployed video cameras (lasting for 6 h) and accelerometers (lasting for 2 d) on 8 white sharks Carcharodon carcharias aggregating near colonies of long-nosed fur seals Arctocephalus forsteri. Video showed one shark attacking a seal, during which an intensive swimming event (lateral acceleration: 3.7 × g, tailbeat frequency: 3.3 Hz, estimated swim speed: 6.7 m s-1) was recorded. Based on this confirmed event, 7 potential predation events were identified from 150 h of acceleration data. The events occurred at various depths (0-53 m) and primarily at nighttime and during crepuscular periods, partly contrasting with well documented seal-hunting breaching behaviour that occurs primarily during crepuscular periods. This study demonstrates that, despite inherent difficulties, recording infrequent hunting events of top marine predators provides insight into their hunting strategies and maximum locomotor performance.


KEY WORDS: Carcharodon carcharias · Biologging · Locomotion · Predator-prey relationship · Swimming behaviour


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Cite this article as: Watanabe YY, Payne NL, Semmens JM, Fox A, Huveneers C (2019) Hunting behaviour of white sharks recorded by animal-borne accelerometers and cameras. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 621:221-227. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12981

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