Tiger sharks not frightened by hurricanes, unlike other species, study shows

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The tiger shark is showing its stripes.

Hurricanes do not appear to frighten tiger sharks, unlike other related species, according to a new study.

The research, which was recently released by the Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science journal, showed that the detection of tiger sharks near the Bahamas during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 remained “consistent” before and during the storm.

“Immediately following the storm, daily tiger shark detections approximately doubled,” the study says. “Size and extent of tiger shark activity space within the array were consistent pre- and post-storm.”

Meanwhile, research conducted near Miami during Hurricane Irma in 2017 suggested that other species of large sharks — including nurse, hammerhead and bull — behaved differently.

“As the eye of the storm passed 140 km to the west, most sharks previously present in the array were no longer detected, while two nurse sharks remained at receivers near Miami,” the study reads.

The results of the study intrigued researchers.

“I was amazed to see that big tiger sharks didn’t evacuate even as the eye of the hurricane was bearing down on them, it was as if they didn’t even flinch,” Neil Hammerschlag of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School said in a statement.

He noted that “their numbers even increased after the storm passed.”

“We suspect tiger sharks were probably taking advantage of all the new scavenging opportunities from dead animals that were churned up in the storm,” Hammerschlag said.

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