Thursday, May 13, 2010

leopard shark and anchovy ~ 05/13/10 ~ Elkhorn Slough

While hiking at Elkhorn Slough with a friend this afternoon, we came across this unusual sight of people in the water with a huge net. What are they doing?!? So, we stuck around to watch.

Oooh, there's something moving in that net! There are two somethings! Leopard sharks! The sharks were not happy campers at being caught, but they didn't flail about as much as I thought they would. They looked incredibly strong, though.

After checking the sex and recording some basic data, these folks then proceeded to collect all those little silvery fish in the net and count them. I overheard that some were anchovies and identified mainly by their large jaws.

leopard shark
Triakis semifasciata

Within 10 minutes the researcher fellow let the sharks loose back in the water. I would have jumped in to ask questions, but these folks appeared to be extra busy collecting those little silvery fish. Link forward to learn more about monitoring sharks at Elkhorn Slough. Cool!


Anonymous said...

We originally went to the Slough many years for birdwatching & were amazed to see the little sharks in the shallows - what a wonderful place.

Nature ID said...

I've seen the fins in the shallow water, too, and always wondered what they were. Then I'd forget to ask at the nature center on the way out. I'm going to be posting more pics from this hike, but I need to look up IDs first. Thanks for your reply on your blog, Janet!

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie. I think i read somewhere that Leopard Sharks are often found in brackish water, as well as the sea.

John W. Wall said...

Very interesting! I've seen fishermen catch small leopard sharks off of Baker Beach in SF, but that's my only contact with them. I think there's lots of science going on around the Slough, some kind of marine science lab in town there.

Nature ID said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, Dean!

John, there are several marine science labs in the area. MBARI probably has the best PR, but these researchers were driving a CA State truck. Elkhorn Slough is well connected and for good reason. It's an amazing place... 'course I think that of all my favorite hiking spots.

Anonymous said...

What we were told on that first visit is that the little mud sharks come into the shallows (this was the inland part of the slough near the heron rookeries) in certain weather conditions during the summer to breed; we happened to get lucky that day.