Feeds

Baby sharks are so HARDCORE they avoid baddies like tiny ninjas

How canny fish sense and trick predators with SCIENCE

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Baby sharks can fool passing predators even before they're born - by freezing on the spot or simply playing dead.

Shark embryo in an egg case

The embryonic sharklings can sense a hungry predator by detecting their electric fields and avoid being eaten by staying very still and slowing down their breathing.

Boffins already knew that adult sharks used highly sensitive receptors on their head to spot incoming predators and prey, but now scientists from the University of Western Australia have found that brownbanded bamboo shark embryos can do the same thing from inside their tiny egg case.

Brownbanded sharks, like a number of other shark species, are left in a leathery egg to develop on their own before hatching, making them vulnerable to passing hungry predators. But the study found that when the eggs in a tank were exposed to electric fields, they would hold their breath and stop moving. If they needed to breathe again before the danger passed, they would move their gills slowly to try to avoid detection.

"Embryonic sharks are able to recognise dangerous stimuli and react with an innate avoidance response," marine neuroecologist Ryan Kempster said.

Once they emerge after up to five months in their eggs, the baby sharks have the brown banding of their name, allowing them to mimic the colours of poisonous or less tasty prey. This colouring is lost as the shark grows up and takes on the more typical dark colouring of other shark species.

The boffins said that the study, published online in PLoS, was a step towards making more effective shark repellants. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.