UK: Some shark species make “mental maps” of their home ranges, allowing them to pin-point destinations up to 50km (30 miles) away, according to a group of researchers, led by Yannis Papastamatiou from the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.
Researchers analysed data from tiger sharks tagged with acoustic transmitters. However, other species such as blacktip reef sharks did not show this behaviour. In the Journal of Animal Ecology, researchers concluded it as a capacity to store maps of key sites. In addition, it is further evidence that the great fish can navigate, possibly using the Earth’s magnetic field.
Earlier research in Hawaii had shown tiger sharks swimming across deep channels and finding shallow banks rich in food 50km away. In this project, researchers used statistical techniques to show the journeys were not made by accident; the sharks were following some kind of path.