A Shark Managed to Regrow Its Fin

Image credits: Josh Schellenberger and John Moore

A Shark Managed to Regrow Its Fin

A silky shark was observed to have the ability to regrow its damaged dorsal fin.

During the summer of 2022, shark researcher Chelsea Black was investigating shark movements off the Florida coast. As part of her research, described in a Team Sharkwater Facebook post, she and her team tagged the sharks with GPS trackers before releasing them back into the sea.

“The research took an unexpected turn when underwater diver and photographer @JoshSchellenberg captured images of a silky shark with a mangled fin in Jupiter, Florida and submitted them to Black’s team. Upon examination, it became apparent that the hole in the fin matched the size and shape of the satellite tag initially placed by the researchers. Not only that, but the evidence of the removed tag suggested that someone had purposefully removed it.

In June 2023, the same silky shark was spotted again in Jupiter, Florida, giving scientists a rare chance to monitor its recovery. Using photographic documentation, the researchers tracked the shark’s healing over 332 days. This allowed them to measure the healing rates for the first time in this species. Remarkably, the shark had regenerated its dorsal fin to nearly 90% of its original size, recovering over half of the portion lost in 2022. The findings highlighted the silky shark’s extraordinary ability to regrow its dorsal fin, a capability previously undocumented in this species. This discovery underscores the critical importance of understanding and safeguarding our vital marine ecosystems.

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