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Journals from HHPA/HESC 398 Island Health Care: Type 2 Diabetes in the Bahamas January Term 2012

2012-01-17 Shark Feeding

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Today we headed into the Cape Eleuthera marina where one of the local fishermen was cleaning his catch. As he filleted the mahi mahi (some of you may know this fish as dorado, lampuga or Coryphaena hippurus for those biologists out there), he tossed the scraps into the shallow water in front of his stand. The fish scraps didn’t last long as there were several nurse sharks and a few bull sharks lying in wait. We talked a little with the fisherman and he explained to us how to tell the two apart. The bigger bull sharks have a dorsal fin that is in the middle of their back and their tail fin is a little more defined. The nurse shark’s dorsal fin is much closer to the tail. Both types of sharks had a couple of smaller fish following them around keeping them clean and munching on any parasites that attached to them. In turn, the sharks let them live. All in all, there were about 12 sharks total! When a scrap was up for grabs, the bull sharks seemed to muscle their way in to snag the big pieces. This reflected the more aggressive nature of these sharks! It was incredible to see so many of these predators so close to us. At times, it was a little nerve-wracking knowing that one false step meant that we would be swimming with several hungry sharks during feeding time! We weren’t scared though, it was just another adventure in paradise…

Brody

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