Sharktember Fest at Amelia River Cruises
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
Welcome to our first annual “Shark-tember.” This will be our first month-long look into a single animal and the different species which fall under its’ class. If you are like me and pay entirely too close attention to social media, you may have seen that there have been a few shark appearances right off the beaches of Amelia Island. The first swimming set of teeth we are going to explore is the blacktip shark. Now, this species often gets confused with a reef shark that goes by the same name. The blacktip shark is a species of requiem shark. What is a requiem shark you ask? Simply put, they are migratory sharks that flock to the warmest part of the seas they can sense out. Spinner sharks and some of their relatives of close origins also fall under the requiem category. It’s becoming a widely embraced speculation and a resolve-ridden belief is growing that requiem came from the French word requin, which also has some ambiguity as to its’ definitive meaning. One Latin translation of the words Latin equivalent simply means “rest.” Given this species is one of many with some very serious migratory habits, their name translating as “rest” seems in conflict with the interests of the shark’s daily grind in the deep.
With all species of this family showing the usual Carcharhiniform species’ characteristics, they all display those rounded eyes. Also, their pectoral fins are uniquely placed entirely to the posterior of their five gill slits. One tends to feel sorry for the mother of blacktip pups. The young are always born fully developed. I don’t know a female alive that wouldn’t have a coronary if they received such information about the news in the labor room. Unfortunately, it is universally believed – more or less – that most attacks on humans by sharks are acts committed by this particular species. However, due to the difficulty that exists in identifying the different species of both blacktips and their look-alike shark relatives in their habitat, there is a certain degree of inaccuracy that exists in identifying the culprits of every attack on humans. While “timid” is an unlikely adjective to describe any shark, the blacktip sharks are known to have a far less aggressive demeanor. These finned phenomenal swimmers have a flair for the dramatic. They are known to make giant spinning leaps out of the water as attacks small schools of fish. With antics like this, it seems our ferocious friends of the deep and Terrell Owens share common sportsmanship values (or lack thereof). Tune in Next week as we will be exploring the habits and oddities behind one of natures’ most seemingly misshapen predators. While these blacktip sharks are usually predisposed to be wary of humans, they can become very aggressive in the presence of food, accompanied by another being whom could possibly challenge the shark for its’. At risk of stating the obvious, this particular species of shark is quite valuable to both commercial and recreational buyers. The IUCN – which you will see I use quite often as an endangerment reference – listed the blacktip as near threatened. Reasoning for this title stems from the species low reproductive rate and its high dollar value to fishers. Next week, we take an up close look at the Hammerhead shark, and what makes them so formidable.
We have not seen many sharks during our excursions but we see a lot of dolphins.
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