Hungry sharks take strange walks to find food

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Washington, Mar 4 (UNI) The way sharks go out searching for food and prey is very similar to the pattern which we adopt during shopping, suggests a new study.

The results of the international study shows that the animals' behaviour seems to have evolved as a general 'rule' to search for sparsely distributed prey in the vast expanse of the ocean.

''Systematic searching is not the most efficient strategy if you're looking for sparse items. If you go to the supermarket to buy eggs you look for them in one place, and if you don't find them there you choose another location to look in,'' Dr David Sims from the Marine Biological Association and the University of Plymouth, who led the research, said, Science Daily reported.

''You probably won't start at one end of the supermarket and search every aisle. Predators increase energy gain by adopting the Levy Walk, so they can travel further to find food,'' he added.

The researchers analysed the dive data from sophisticated electronic tags attached to a diverse range of marine predators, such as sharks, tuna, cod, sea turtles and penguins, in various locations around the world.

The researchers compared this data to the distribution patterns of their prey and found similarities, suggesting that the predators have evolved this search rule to get the best possible results from their foraging expeditions.

''We developed a computer model from the foraging data, and this confirmed that the observed patterns were indeed optimal for naturally dynamic prey fields,'' Dr Sims said.

''The search rule seems to be a general solution for success in complex and changeable environments,''he added.

Similar movement patterns appear to be present in other species' behaviour, including human travel dynamics, hinting that the patterns discovered by the team may be universal.

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