by Erin Loury, Ichthyology Lab
It’s a pretty cool day to when your advisor says off-handedly, “There’s a salmon shark in the ich lab sink if you want to take a look.” Um, no “if”s there! This juvenile salmon shark carcass washed ashore on a beach near Monterey and spent some time in the MLML freezer before being handed over to researchers at Hopkins Marine Station for genetic analysis.
Far from being cold-blooded killers, salmon sharks can keep their body temperatures well above the temperature of the surrounding water. Their blood can be as warm as 61 degrees F in water that is only 32 degrees! There are also no reported attacks of salmon sharks on humans, and they tend to feast mostly on (appropriately) salmon. (I also think those cartoon-style big black eyes make them look awfully cute!) Salmon sharks make some impressive migrations from Mexico all the way to Alaska – follow the paths of tagged salmon sharks and learn more at the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) website.
Although this photo was taken two years ago, the word on the street is we just might have a salmon shark on display at our upcoming MLML Open House. What is Open House, you ask? Stay tuned to learn all about it!