When researchers tried to recapture tagged sharks in the Delaware Bay last month, they reeled in a “Turducken” of the sea.
University of Delaware researchers set a small fish called menhaden as bait for the sand tiger sharks. Unbeknownst to them, a dogfish shark took the bait which was swallowed by a larger sand shark. The pair was pulled to the ocean’s surface, Philly.com reports.
“We caught one large female on our first line Friday, but we were not expecting to catch her like this!” the group posted alongside a photo on its Facebook page.” This unlucky smooth dogfish couldn't resist the menhaden used as bait and unfortunately fell victim to one of the top predators in the bay.”
The 3-foot-long dogfish shark died but the sand tiger shark survived and was released back into the bay, Danielle Haulsee, a PhD candidate in oceanography at the University of Delaware, told Philly.com.
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“There's gotta be some kind of shark-based ‘turducken’ label for this kind of situation,” Facebook user Aaron Martens posted underneath the photo referring to the Thanksgiving dish of a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, which is then stuffed into a deboned turkey.
The photo, which has received dozens of comments since it was posted, has been shared more than 1,100 times.
Sand tiger sharks are a threatened species that live off the coasts of Maine to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Their numbers have shrunk primarily due to fishing pressures, where they are caught for their meat and cartilage. Fisheries and pollution have destroyed their habitats and affected their nursing grounds. Although they look ferocious they pose little to no threat to humans.
The ORB Lab, short for Ocean Exploration, Remote Sensing, Biogeography Lab, was trying to capture the sharks which contained “valuable information about the species assemblage encountered by these coastal apex predators.”
Facebook user Paul Douglas Hughes had another take, "To catch a shark, ya gotta become the shark."