Thousands of blacktip sharks gathering off the Florida coast isn’t an unusual event. Yet, the footage depicting the blacktip sharks swarming in one stop close to the beach is admittedly a bit frightening.
Images showing a colony of 10,000 to 12,000 blacktip sharks in one spot along the Florida coast have become viral over night. Albeit the event isn’t unusual, it’s always an exciting opportunity to see these marine creatures gathered in one place. Professor Stephen Kajiura, teaching biological sciences at Florida Atlantic University is fascinated by blacktip sharks.
In 2011 Professor Kajiura began a long term endeavor: surveying blacktip sharks to have deeper insight on their behavior and population numbers. According to the professor, the sharks are typical visitors along the Florida coast each year between January and March. However menacing their appearance may be, blacktip sharks aren’t a threat to humans. A typical meal for the annual visitors consists of smaller fish, preferably shimmering ones.
Blacktip sharks gained their name as they have one specific trait differentiating them from other shark species. Their dorsal fins and tails are adorned by a distinctive black marking. In addition, they are migrating sharks. This feature brings them around Florida each year between January and March to complete their winter stay. As the middle of March nears, the sharks head further south and spend the rest of their year close to South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.
As such, thousands of blacktip sharks gathering off the Florida coast may be a striking image for a first-time onlooker. Yet, it’s a common sight during this time of year for beachgoers in Florida. The annual visitors to the Florida coastal waters can grow to approximately 6.5 feet. Thus, the black spots visible in aerial footage captured from Miami all the way to Jupiter Inlet can be quite pronounced.
According to Professor Kajiura, the most striking images depicting an population of about 12,000 blacktip sharks are captured just in the 660 feet water band. Further off the coast, thousands more blacktip sharks are lurking.
Nonetheless, these large predators aren’t a threat to humans. Beachgoers may admire them from afar as they often leap out of the water, much like dolphins. As for the more courageous beachgoers who decide to dive in and swim with the sharks, Professor Kajiura has one piece of advice. Don’t wear shiny clothing or piece of jewelry that might prompt the blacktip sharks to mistake you for their dinner.
Photo Credits: NatureWorldNews