ENTERTAINMENT

Dead shark washes itself on the Libyan shore with an 11-inch swordfish blade in its back


Dead shark washes itself on the Libyan shore with an 11-inch blade in its back that belonged to a six-foot swordfish

  • A dead shark was found on a Libyan beach that was killed by a swordfish
  • An 11-inch podium, the swordfish's nose, was withdrawn from the sharks
  • Experts say the attack took place about three days before the body was discovered
  • They believe the incident was an accidental collision rather than a full attack

Swordfish are predatory fish that are known to attack sharks. A recent discovery on a Libyan beach shows how deadly this creature can be.

A new study describes a dead female thresher shark found on the coast near the town of Brega who died from a piercing trauma to the swordfish pedestal.

A resident spotted the lifeless shark at the end of the beach and pulled an 11.8-inch blade from its back that is believed to have pierced the shark's heart.

Citizen scientists who took over the gruesome scene suggest that the swordfish is about six feet long and attacks the shark from behind three days before it lands.

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A resident spotted the lifeless shark at the end of the beach and pulled an 11.8-inch blade from its back that is believed to have pierced the shark's heart

A new study describes a dead female thresher shark found on the coast near the town of Brega who died from a piercing trauma to the swordfish pedestal

The study, published in the journal Ichthyological Research, says the podium belonged to the swordfish Xiphias gladius, "whom I know as a highly mobile predatory fish that attacks sharks, whales, people, and even boats."

Such attacks have been documented since the 1960s, but the recent discovery provides the first example of how deadly the swordfish's tip actually is.

The thresher shark was just over 3 meters long when the community science initiative “Marine Biology in Libya” arrived at the scene.

There was no immediate evidence of how the shark died, but when they looked closer, the team discovered the gaping hole on its back.

Citizen scientists who took over the gruesome scene suggest that the swordfish is about six feet long and attacks the shark from behind three days before it lands

Citizen scientists who took over the gruesome scene suggest that the swordfish is about six feet long and attacks the shark from behind three days before it lands

Based on the location of the blade, the team believes the shark was injured on or near the spinal branches, causing nerve and artery damage, along with its gill arches

Based on the location of the blade, the team believes the shark was injured on or near the spinal branches, causing nerve and artery damage, along with its gill arches

"The podium penetrated the shark at an acute angle of about 70 degrees to the anterior-posterior axis, which was pointed at the branch apparatus, and showed that the swordfish must have been positioned dorsally by the shark and pierced from behind," it says in the study.

Based on the location of the blade, the team believes the shark was injured on or near the spinal branches, causing nerve and artery damage, along with its gill arches.

The injuries are also said to have appeared within three days of the shark's body being found, as the wound had not yet healed and the blood was still pink in color.

"That color had faded three days later at the time of the second inspection," said the study researchers.

"The location of the injury, the timing of the wound, and the lack of other apparent injuries lead us to conclude that the impaling was fatal and the ultimate cause of death for the thresher shark."

The team notes that most attacks on sharks are carried out by adolescents, but the thresher shark was adult and nearly the same size as the swordfish

With this in mind, the team speculates that the attack may have happened accidentally. The two may have been feeding on the same prey

The team notes that most attacks on sharks are carried out by adolescents, but the thresher shark was adult and nearly the same size as the swordfish

The team notes that most attacks on sharks are carried out by adolescents, but the thresher shark was adult and almost the same size as the swordfish.

"The swordfish that was involved in the current attack was not a juvenile, but about the size of the thresher shark and therefore does not fit into its range of prey, which makes an attack as a defensive reaction unlikely," the newspaper said.

With that in mind, the team speculates that the attack may have happened accidentally – the two may have been feeding on the same prey.

But it could have been the swordfish's way of keeping the shark from eating.

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