Monday, January 28, 2013

Strange Bedfellows

Photo Copyright 2013 by Barry Fackler

In my last post, I shared photos of a hawksbill turtle that was, presumably, injured by a tiger shark. Today I have something completely different to share with you. In the photo above, a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and a whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus) are sheltering together in a small cave in Honaunau Bay. This is not the first time I have witnessed such a pairing, but it is the first time I was able to get close enough to get a photo (albeit grainy and poor quality).
The whitetip shark has very small teeth and poses no serious threat to the turtle. Whitetip reef sharks feed mostly on small fish and crustaceans and are nocturnal. Green sea turtles subsist primarily on seaweed and forage during the day. Consequently, they are bunkmates for only a short time. As you may be able to see, the turtle is quite awake and may be considering swimming around his companion to start her day. The little orange streaks in the photo are tiny juvenile fish hovering close to the camera.

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