A new study discovered the unique Social Behavior of sharks. Based on the study, the marine animal has some preferences when it comes to its Social Circle. They hang out with a preferred set of sharks based on specific standards such as size.

The findings were published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. Researchers observed the most common shark species in Australia -- Port Jackson sharks -- in order to understand their patterns of social interaction

Understanding the social behavior

One of the most interesting findings of the study is that the species don’t hang out with other individuals casually.

Instead, they maintain a consistent set of "friends", especially during their breeding season. They tend to spend time with sharks that are physically similar to them.

According to study lead author Dr. Johann Mourier, it is relatively difficult to observe the behavior of large marine animals since they thrive in the deeper parts of the ocean. Researchers need to get close to them as possible in order to gather information about their behavior. In order to understand their social habits, researchers observed their interactions up close and for long periods of time.

As for the Port Jackson sharks, they migrate in large groups. Based on their tags, researchers were able to identify their route; those who came from Jervis Bay in New South Wales turn up in Tasmania during breeding season before going back to their point of origin.

Identifying their social circle

They navigate the waters accurately. Based on the study, they return to specific breeding reefs every year. This behavior is unusual for sharks but is generally observed with the Port Jackson species. The researchers believe that this could explain why they also prefer long term relationships.

To see who is hanging out with who, the researchers used the acoustic tags on the sharks.

By detecting them using a receiver, the researchers were able to tell which specific shark spent time with whom and for how long did they spend time together.

Aside from identifying their social circle, the tags were also used in many other ecological observations such as studying the social structures, how prey and predator interacts, and how information and diseases are transmitted in sharks.

With this study, marine ecologists can further understand the patterns and social behavior of sharks. The collected data may even shed light as to why sharks attack humans and what could be causing their predatory behavior.