2 Great White Sharks are best friends

You’re a lot less lonely on the open ocean with a buddy.

Scientists have spotted two great white sharks known as Simon And Jekyllwho have traveled together “in tandem” more than 4,000 miles along the coast of North America.

“This is potentially groundbreaking,” said Bob Hueter, chief scientist at ocean research organization OCEARCH, in one Video posted on Facebook on Sunday.

“Great whites lead very lonely lives,” he continued. “We don’t really expect these great whites to stay together, but Simon and Jekyll – they seem to be friends in the sense that they go to the same place at the same time.”

A great white shark, but neither Simon nor Jekyll. We don't know if this shark even has any friends.
A great white shark, but neither Simon nor Jekyll. We don’t know if this shark even has any friends.

Philip Thurston via Getty Images

Researchers began tracking the two relatively young males in December last year when they were briefly caught and tagged with tracking devices near the southeast coast of the United States. Since then, the apex predator pair have made the long journey north to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada, all the while swimming together.

The ecologist Yannis Papastamatiou from Florida International University said the New York Times that in his own research he has seen great white sharks “hanging out” together in certain locations for hours. He noted that sharks can band together for purposes such as mating, repelling predators, or foraging for food.

in a (n Article last year for The Conversationalso quoted Papastamatiou a study Great white shark numbers in Australia that found sharks congregating around a seal colony tended to spend time with the same individuals within the larger group.

“The fact that great white sharks not only stay close to each other, but also have preferred friends made me wonder if maybe these animals are more social than people thought,” Papastamatiou wrote at the time.

In the OCEARCH video, Hueter added that the researchers will analyze Simon and Jekyll’s blood – which was sampled when they were tagged – to determine if they are siblings, in case it plays a role in theirs close relationship could play.

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