Piles and Piles
Coral catsharks and epaulette shark are the stars of the Life Cycle section of our new Science of Sharks exhibit. In the first part of this display you’ll find the developing sharks wiggling in their egg cases. The next section has adorable baby sharks (honestly, you can’t imagine how cute baby sharks can be). The last tank in this section is the adult sharks. The coral cats and epaulette sharks snake their way through a forest of corals to seek out the best resting spots, giving visitors good looks at their awesome anatomy — like ampullae of Lorenzini and dermal denticles.
Sometimes it seems like they all prefer the same resting spot. In fact, you’ll often find sharks all piled up on top of each other! No, it’s not because the exhibit is too small. Rather these sharks seem perfectly comfortable in close quarters, so close they’re fin to fin amid the coral sculptures.
Scientists don’t know exactly why these sharks behave this way. Not all sharks live alone, and perhaps this is a case of them finding safety in numbers. Or maybe they enjoy the tactile nature of the skin-to-skin contact. Or it might simply be that they enjoy a quality rest spot no matter who is nearby. Whatever the reason they pig-pile on top of each other, it’s certainly not an unusual occurrence—even in a large exhibit with ample spots to accommodate each shark!
This stacking behavior is just one of the fascinating things you’ll observe and learn about at our new Science of Sharks exhibit! Come prepared with your wildest shark questions and get ready to challenge your understanding of this diverse group of animals. It’s time you kindle your curiosity about these majestic ocean predators!