Effects of environmental conditions on predator-prey interactions between white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) and Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) at Seal Island, South Africa

Neil Hammerschlag, R. Aidan Martin, Chris Fallows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Effects of environmental factors on frequency and success rate of 2,546 natural predatory attacks by white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, on Cape fur seals, Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus, were studied over an 8-year period at Seal Island, South Africa. Attacks occurred primarily during winter months (June-August). Attack frequency increased significantly during northerly winds, during high tides, and within 400 m of the island, but predatory success rate decreased with proximity to the island. Attacks occurred over a depth range of 5-31 m, with significantly more occurring at depths of 26-30 m. Attack frequency and success rate increased significantly at low light levels. These results are compared with published effects of environmental factors on white shark predation frequency at the Farallon Islands, California, and discussed in terms of the Predation Cycle. Suggestions for future work at this site are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-350
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Volume76
Issue number2-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006

Keywords

  • Ambush
  • Attack
  • Behavior
  • Elasmobranch
  • Predation cycle
  • Sensory biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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