27 June 2012

Sneaky sleepers snatch snoozing seals

Researchers were confused when they found the remains of seals in the stomachs of  sleeper sharks, aka the  Greenland shark . This shark is incredibly slow moving, in fact it leads a very slow life, so there is no way that it could catch a swimming seal. The researchers think that the only way the sharks could catch the seals is if they were sleeping in the water. Many Arctic seals sleep in the water rather than on the ice where they can be caught by polar bears. Now the researchers are working out how they can get evidence to prove their theory is correct. 

Greenland sharks have an interesting biology. Not only do they live in icy water and move very slowly, but their flesh is poisonous! No animal eats the body of a Greenland shark, even when it is dead, but many Arctic people eat the meat. The meat has to be boiled several times before it is safe to eat. The poison makes people feel very drunk.

Another interesting fact. Most Greenland sharks have a parasite living on their eye. The parasite is a small animal called a copepod and it latches onto the outside of the eye and starts feeding on it. In time the parasite causes the shark to be partly blind.

image  Ecoscene / Andy Murch VWPics

No comments:

Post a Comment