Thursday, November 23, 2017

Shark Eyes?

Butterfly eye spots: likely not mimicry but rather, aimed at startling and distracting - source.


I'm sure this may surprise you - but I kinda like this?
There's a website with some info, some of which quite good - but some probably not so much, as in the whole treatment of (Batesian?) mimicry in general and eye spots in particular, as the scientific  interpretation  of the latter is at best inconclusive. 
But of course we all know that those predatory Sharks are highly opportunistic, and that when they try to sneak up on us, they will generally veer away once we look at them - so the analogy to those Tiger deterrent masks from the Sundarbans may actually be quite fitting!

Any caveats? Most certainly!
  • First and foremost, I wonder whether the likely target species, i.e. the archetypal GWS attacking a surfboard would even properly discern those eyes = assuming that it would be attacking from below and thus aim for a silhouette, the underside of the surfboard with those eyes would likely be too dark? Any way of having those eyes glow?

  • Secondly, like in all those cases, caveat habituation whereby even those Bangladeshi Tigers did apparently stop being fooled after a while?

  • And lastly (but this is by far not exhaustive!), here's to those surfers refraining from feeling bite-proof and negating the benefits of the deterrent by engaging in riskier behavior!
Plus, were it me, I would a) not buy a decal but paint my own eyes onto my board instead, and b) they would be much bigger as I would position them lengthwise!

But, I generally like it!
It is non-invasive, cheap and certainly plausible, as are those mask straps - the latter certainly not for Shark nerds like us, but maybe for other water users like abalone divers etc. 

So godspeed and all.
I obviously doubt that there will ever be (and here!) any conclusive science - but it is surely worth a try!

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