Source: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
You know what they say: There’s always a bigger fish. Well, if what NOAA researchers witnessed as they were exploring the deep ocean off the South Carolina coast is anything to go by, that adage holds true even if you’re a shark.
Last month, the scientists came across a group of at least 11 sharks—two species of deep-sea dogfish—feasting on a dead swordfish on the ocean floor at a depth of almost 1,500 feet. But the spectacle of the sharks tearing the flesh from the eight-foot swordfish isn’t the highlight of the footage—that happens when suddenly a large wreckfish sneaks out from behind the scientist’s remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer and snatches a shark in its jaws. The shark’s tail is seen flailing from the mouth of the large bony predator as the video ends.
“The wreckfish appears unable to feed on the swordfish directly itself,” writes Peter Auster, a senior research scientist at the Mystic Aquarium and research emeritus professor at the University of Connecticut, “but by joining the sharks, it was able to feed on an animal that was.” According to the NOAA, wreckfish can grow to over six feet in length and weigh as much as 220 pounds.
The exploratory expedition on NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer, which is collecting “critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas of the southeastern United States,” started on May 30th and ends this Friday, July 12th.
Check out the amazing video below.
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