Animals and Insects

Sharks May Have Unique Personalities

New research suggest that catsharks have unique personalities that affect whether or not they stick with a group or go it alone.

Sharks May Have Unique Personalities
Joachim S. Muller / CC BY NC SA 2.0
SMS

Humans have a variety of personality traits. And now, a new study says sharks have personalities as well. Yes, sharks. Researchers at the Marine Biological Association of the UK and the University of Exeter studied ten small groups of cat sharks in three different habitats, and looked at their behavioral patterns. The research shows that even though sharks are depicted as mindless, eating machines they have unique social patterns that determine how they interact with other sharks.

One of the researchers explained in a press release: "These results were driven by different social preferences ... that appeared to reflect different strategies for staying safe. Well-connected individuals formed conspicuous groups, while less social individuals tended to camouflage alone."

These social or antisocial personality traits were likely developed by the young sharks to avoid being another animal's lunch. BBC notes this is far from the first piece of research to suggest that animals have personalities. There has been a lot of evidence that shows individual behavior differences in a large number of species. And these findings for the catshark actually line up with some results from completely separate research on the lemon shark. Those findings showed consistent personality traits in their test subjects as well.

So do you think Jaws hung out with other sharks or was more of a loner when he wasn't terrorizing fisherman?

This video includes images from Joachim S. Muller / CC BY NC SA 2.0Emoke Denes and Anthony Patterson.

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