On what was a routine shark tag retrieval mission, the crew at University of Delaware’s Ocean Exploration, Remote Sensing, Biogeography Lab (or ORB Lab) managed to take a once-in-a-lifetime photo. In the above image, a sand tiger shark had wrapped its jaws around a smaller dogfish shark, which in turn swallowed a menhaden that was used as bait. Sand tiger sharks make a diet out out of their smaller cousins, but rarely can any angler boast of catching two sharks with one bait fish.
“We caught one large female on our first line Friday, but we were not expecting to catch her like this!” ORB Lab wrote on their Facebook page.
At one time dogfish were among the most commonly found of any shark species. Now, like the sand tiger, dogfish are considered vulnerable and in decline. ORB Lab’s shark research works to better understand these sharp declines in order to preserve shark populations. To this end, sand tiger sharks in the Delaware Bay have been captured and fixed with pop-off archival tags, which will have to be retrieved to access the valuable data within. It’s an enjoyable task that allows the ORB Lab crew to spend a day saltwater fishing. What the researcher didn’t expect was that another shark wanted to volunteer for the job. The sand tiger shark in this case was released unharmed, although the condition of the dogfish is unknown.
Unfortunately, the crew that took the photo is currently on an extended research trip and cannot be contacted by OutdoorHub for an interview.
Image courtesy University of Delaware ORB Lab