Salmon shark uses log for scratching in rare video taken off Vancouver Island coast

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
A salmon shark rubs itself against a floating log covered in barnacles on July 19, 2019.

Researchers off the coast of Vancouver Island captured rare footage of salmon shark behaviour last week.

The sighting happened on July 19 about 250 kilometres off of the island while the Pacific seamounts expedition team was exploring Canada’s largest underwater volcano.

During the trip, they noticed the two-metre male shark started brushing itself on a log repeatedly.

“It looked like it was aiming for these big clumps of barnacles and then it would heave its body out of the water and actually slide it along,” Cherisse Du Preez, a deep-sea marine biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said.

The team thinks the shark was trying to get rid of parasites attached to some of its fins.

“It’s really interesting that these logs out at sea may be scratching posts for them to rid themselves of parasites,” Du Preez said.

Du Preez also said while the team was observing the shark, it did not appear to be bothered by the obervers.

“As far as I know, this footage doesn’t exist elsewhere,” Du Preez said.

The salmon shark Lamna ditropis is a common pelagic (living from the ocean surface to 375 metres below) species.

With files from CBC 

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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