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Case study analyzes why, where and when of leading shark attack site
Date:5/26/2010

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The greatest number of attacks occurred during new moons, followed by full moons, the edges of the lunar extreme when the moon has its biggest pull on the tidal phase, Burgess said. Probably the moon's phases influence the movements and reproductive patterns of fish, the shark's food source, just as they affect human behavior, he said.

Not surprisingly, attacks were highest during the swimming season, from May through October, peaking in August, Burgess said. They spiked in April as sharks began their seasonal northern migration up the eastern coast of the United States, he said.

Most incidents involved one bite, occurred in turbid, murky or muddy waters and were at the water's surface, Burgess said. Only one attack was on a diver, he said.

More victims wore swimsuits that were black and white than any other color combination, followed by black and yellow, attesting to sharks' abilities to see contrast, he said.

Between 1999 and 2008, shark attacks worldwide numbered 639, of which there were 428 reports in the United States, 275 in Florida and 135 in Volusia County. Burgess said.


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Contact: George Burgess
gburgess@flmnh.ufl.edu
352-392-2360
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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