by Fiona Graham, RJD intern
November 3rd, 2012
It is always exciting to have something remarkable to report after a trip, and this was one of those trips. Jumping right into the highlights of the day, not only did we get one tiger shark, but two! Our original plan was to spend the day at the reef in deep water, however the current proved to be too strong for our drumlines and so we needed to move on. We then headed to Hawks Channel, and boy were we glad we did! We typically tend to catch a lot of nurse sharks at this site, and true to form we did get one feisty nurse.
Still though, the catch of the day that I was personally most excited about came a little later. Reeling in the line, we weren’t even sure that there was something on the end of it until a beautiful baby tiger shark broke the surface. She couldn’t have been more than a couple months old, definitely the youngest tiger any of us had ever seen. Young tiger sharks are particularly extraordinary because their markings are especially prominent when they’re younger, making them quite the sight to behold.
Rare data points such as this are extremely exciting. We were able to get measurements, a small fin clip, muscle biopsy, and blood before we gently sent her on her way with a brand new identification “spaghetti” tag. Particularly interesting is the isotope analysis that we’ll be able to do with the muscle biopsy sample, because this should be able to give us an idea of what this baby tiger shark has been eating at these early stages in it’s life!
We were also lucky enough to catch another tiger shark, this one much bigger and sexually mature. It was really outstanding to see the juxtaposition of these two individuals back to back, the same species yet massively different in size.
As always, this was another great day out on the water for all involved, and we were able to return with some really valuable data! Anyone else get to see a young tiger shark first hand? Leave a reply below, we’d love to hear about it!