An interaction between two great white sharks off the coast of Massachusetts was the first of its kind to be caught on camera, according to scientists.
On July 8, drone footage captured a lone shark swimming off the coast of Cape Cod when a second, smaller shark appeared and approached the first one. In the video, they are then seen briefly swimming up against each other in circular motions before separating.
According to Gregory Skomal, program manager and senior scientist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, scientists had not seen great white sharks interact before on camera.
“Based on scarring patterns and wounds, we know that white sharks off Cape Cod frequently bite each other,” he said in a Facebook post. “Until this video was shot, we had never actually witnessed any kind of social interaction.”
The Cape Cod area has seen an increase in great white sharks recently, with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy reporting that at least nine great white sharks were spotted two weeks ago. The Conservancy’s shark-tracking app also showed there have been 41 shark sightings in the area over the past week.
Skomal says scientists are now examining the video to determine if the interaction was “aggressive and/or defensive behaviour or, perhaps, associated with mating.”
The Cape Cod Times reports that shark sightings in recent years, as well as the death of a swimmer in September 2018, have resulted in nearby towns being put on alert and increased safety measures put in place.