thresher shark

Swordfish leaves its “sword” stuck in thresher shark

  • The body of a thresher shark washed up on the Mediterranean shore of Libya back in April 2020.
  • A new study says that the shark was killed by a swordfish that stabbed the predator and left around a foot of its “sword” in the victim.
  • This is the first report of a swordfish killing a thresher shark as these sharks “wouldn’t be a threat” to swordfish.

On Oct. 7, the Ichthyological Research journal published a study about a dead thresher shark that washed up onshore. Apparently, the “sword” embedded in the shark’s head revealed that a swordfish stab killed it.

Almost 12 inches of the fish’s “sword” was left in the victim, leaving a cut 2 inches deep and 3 inches wide.

Researchers say that the probable scenario is that both predators were hunting the same prey or fighting for territory. Study lead researcher Patrick Jambura, a doctoral student in the Department of Paleontology at the University of Vienna, says that it’s also possible that the swordfish stabbed the thresher shark accidentally.

Though there have been reports of swordfish attacking whales, sea turtles, and even objects like boats and submarines, thresher sharks “wouldn’t be a threat” to swordfish because the sharks’ diet consists of small fish.

Though the reason behind the stabbing is unknown, Jambura says they know the swordfish “attacked from above.” A necropsy (an animal autopsy) was not performed. Seeing the extent of the sword cut, researchers say it’s safe to assume the “gill region was heavily damaged, possibly also some important arteries.”

The body of the dead 14.5-foot-long shark washed up near the town of Brega, Libya in April 2020. It’s the first reported case of a swordfish killing a thresher shark.

Yannis Papastamatiou, a Florida International University marine biologist (who wasn’t involved in the study), said scientists can’t say if this happens more often in the open ocean as “sharks are negatively buoyant and will sink when they die.”

Source: Live Science

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