How to Kill Another Shark: A First Inside Look at a Potential Hunting Strategy of the Galapagos Shark

Erich K. Ritter1, 2, *, Alberto Munoz3
1 Department of Mathematics & Statistics, University of West Florida, 11000 University Parkway, Bldg. 4, Pensacola, Florida 32514, USA
2 Shark Research Institute, Global Shark Attack File, P.O. Box 40 Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
3 Shark School Associate, 5970 Osprey Place, Pensacola, FL 32504, USA

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© 2018 Ritter and Munoz.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, University of West Florida 11000 University Parkway, Bldg. 4 Pensacola, Florida 32514, USA; E-mail:



Close-up videos of sharks foraging on other live sharks are rare, especially when it comes to footage of the entire duration of an event.


Our goal was to present an in-depth analysis involving a Galapagos shark, Carcharhinus galapagensis, foraging on a whitetip reef shark, Triaenodon obesus.


A frame by frame video examination was used to highlight the different aspects of this bout.


Several behavioral characteristics, including the somewhat cryptic approach, the extensive shaking once the Galapagos shark had the whitetip reef shark between its jaws, and devouring tail-first, stand out in this event.


The entire act appeared very smooth, indicating that this bout, or at least parts thereof, may represent a common hunting strategy for Galapagos sharks.

Keywords: Behavior, Galapagos shark, Hunting strategy, Selachivorous, Whitetip reef shark, Videos.