Use of Sand Ripples to Enhance Chafing in Caribbean Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus Perezi) and Blacktip Sharks (Carcharhinus Limbatus)

Published on 01 July 2011.

Erich K. Ritter


Although chafing—the rubbing of a body on the sea floor—is a common response of sharks to the attachment of irritating sharksuckers (Echeneis spp.), this behavior has not yet been analyzed in detail. I focused on the different forms and functions of chafing, with special emphasis on the use of sand ripples by sharks during chafing. A significant number of the 146 videotaped Caribbean reef sharks, Carcharhinus perezi (Poey, 1876), and blacktip sharks, Carcharhinus limbatus (Müller and Henle, 1839), preferred to chafe against sand ripples with either a parallel or perpendicular swim direction rather than a transverse swim direction. Tailbeat frequencies of the different forms of the chafing behavior were significantly larger than cruising frequencies. Results indicate that successful chafing requires that sharks employ pattern-recognition and body awareness during chafing.

Bulletin of Marine Science, Volume 87, Number 3, July 2011 , pp. 413-419(7)




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