Hawaii Shark Attacks: October Spike Feared as Tiger Sharks Migrate
By Hannah Osborne | September 7, 2013 1:23 AM EST
The migration patterns of tiger sharks offer an insight into the attacks that took place in Hawaii last month, researchers have said.
So far this year, eight people have been attacked by sharks in Hawaii. Jana Lutteropp, from Germany, died a week after her arm was bitten off by a shark while snorkelling off Palauea Beach in Makena, Maui County.
Just days later, 16-year-old surfer Jimmy Napeahi was attacked and suffered from severe leg injuries.
Researchers at the University of Florida and the University of Hawaii analysed the tiger shark movements over seven years, examining migration patterns rather than human-shark interactions.
They found male and female tiger sharks have very different migration patterns, with males moving little between islands.
However, the females travelled much further, with a quarter making their way from the remote French Frigate Shoals atoll to the main Hawaiian Islands during late summer and early autumn.
Data shows that since 1926, most shark attacks in Hawaii take place during October, November and December.
Spike in shark bites
The tiger shark, which can reach up to five metres in length, is one of the most dangerous breeds to humans as they often swim in shallow reefs and harbours, increasing the chance of encountering people. They also have one of the broadest diets of all shark species.
Yannis Papastamatiou, a marine biologist from the University of Florida, said: "We have previously analysed data to see which sharks are hanging around shark tours with cage divers on Oahu, and one of the things we noticed was that you'd get a spike in how many tiger sharks are seen in October, which would match our predicted model that you're having an influx of big, pregnant females coming from the north-western Hawaiian Islands.
"There even tends to be a spike in the number of shark bites that occur during that season. We knew tiger sharks had fairly complicated movement patterns and it seemed to be sort of a free-for-all.
"Once we looked at data for the full seven years and used the right analysis, everything started to make sense. Now we have a much better understanding of the migration patterns of these sharks."
As well as pregnant females, they found individual sharks might also swim to other islands because of food availability and better thermal environments.
"When you think of migration patterns, you think of all the animals in a population getting up at a certain time and migrating somewhere else, and then they all come back together - so everybody does the same thing. But that's actually rarely how it happens," Papastamatiou said.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Kate Middleton Suffocated in Kensington Palace, Queen Elizabeth Reported War With The Duchess [PHOTOS]
- Brad Pitt Still in Love with Ex-Wife Jennifer Aniston, Staying with Angelina Jolie for Sake of Kids, Claims Brad's Psychic
- British Style Icon Kate Middleton Fashion Talk With Camilla Parker-Bowles Daughter-In-Law [PHOTOS]
- Transfer News: Manchester United's Possible Transfer Options For This Season
Join the Conversation
- Woman Posts Ad for Herself As 'Professional Bridesmaid' On Craigslist
- Mass Panic Over Houston's 'Blinking Lights' in the Sky; UFO Sceptics Still Not Convinced
- Social Gap Between New Zealand Ethnic Groups 'Worsening'
- Autistic Business Owners Capitalize On Strengths For Success
- Food Finger Condoms Turns A Huge Hit In Korea
- James Foley Beheading Video Has Play-Acting Portions – Video Experts Say
- Apple iPhone 6 Release Date, iPhone 6C or 6L Anticipation: Three Things Should Matter To New Phone Shoppers
- Upcoming Sony Xperia Z3 With Dual-SIM Support Gets Approved In China; Full Specifications Revealed; Amber-Coloured Xperia Z3 Tipped
- More Nexus 8/Nexus 9 Release Confirmed with More Leaks and Out of Stock Nexus 7 and 10
- James Foley: Release of Beheading Video by ISIS Meant to Attract More Recruits to Join the Cause – Intelligence
- 2015 Ford Mustang: Right-Hand Drive Pony Car To Be Available In Australia Next Year
- James Foley: ISIS Demanded Multimillion Ransom, US Refused To Pay---Reports