(Web Desk) – The moon is a powerful celestial body – influencing our ocean’s tides through its gravitational pull – and its mysteries have often been a subject in folklore and fantasy.
Researchers found a clear correlation between lunar phases and shark cites, with more shark attacks than average occurring during periods of higher lunar illumination and fewer attacks than average occurring during periods of lower illumination.
And while the team say it is still too early to demonstrate that lunar illumination is a causative factor for shark bites, the “abundance of data we have would suggest that there is something there that’s worth continuing to look at,” Steve Midway, LSU associate professor and researcher on the project said.
“It’s not a matter of more light at night for sharks to see. Most shark attacks occur in the daylight. However, the moon can exert other forces on Earth and its oceans in ways that are much more subtle—for example, the gravitation pull that we see affect the tides.”
But this isn’t something seen in all sharks. “Interestingly, species-specific analysis showed the fewest instances of significant moon phases (only one significant effect for white sharks). This was somewhat surprising because moon effects in other marine animals are often reported to be species-specific, and as such it would not have surprised us to see different patterns of effects in different shark species,” the authors said, going on to explain that what may likely be going on is that different local effects could be adding variability to any overall species effect.