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Dead Shark Washes Up On Libyan Beach With Swordfish 'Blade' Stuck In It

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Dead Shark Washes Up On Libyan Beach With Swordfish 'Blade' Stuck In It

A shark has washed up dead on a beach in Libya after having seemingly been killed by the gigantic 'blade' of a swordfish.

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The thresher shark came ashore near to the town of Brega and, upon inspection, it wasn't immediately clear what had killed it.

However, after one the folks who discovered it spotted a wound on the shark's side, they pulled out an 11.8-inch swordfish rostrum - that's the spiky bit - out of the hole.

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That'll probably be what did it, then.

The rostrum is thought to have causes the shark severe internal injuries, including damage to arteries and even potentially puncturing the shark's heart.

It isn't clear whether this was an accident between the two fish, or whether the swordfish attacked deliberately, but it shows just how dangerous these massive fish can be.

Credit: Ichthyological Research
Credit: Ichthyological Research
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The scene was discovered by some locals, but quickly taken over by scientists who have suggested that the swordfish must have been about six feet long and probably attacked the shark from behind about three days before it came ashore.

A study, published in the journal Ichthyological Research, states that the rostrum probably belonged to a type of swordfish called Xiphias gladius - that is 'a highly mobile, predatory fish known to attack sharks, whales, humans and even boats.'

The thresher shark itself was about 14ft long and had really been through the wars when it was discovered.

The study states: "The rostrum penetrated the shark in an acute angle of approximately 70 degrees to the anterior-posterior axis, directed towards the branchial apparatus, revealing that the swordfish must have been positioned dorsally from the shark and pierced it from behind."

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It continues: "The location of the injury, timing of wound infliction and lack of other apparent injuries lead us to the conclusion that the impalement was fatal and the ultimate cause of death for the thresher shark."

Credit: Ichthyological Research
Credit: Ichthyological Research

While swordfish skewerings aren't exactly uncommon, the study notes that most of the time they involve juvenile swordfish.

This didn't. It was a fully grown adult.

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The study reads: "The swordfish involved in the current attack was not a juvenile, but roughly the same size as the thresher shark and, therefore, does not fit into its prey spectrum, which makes an attack as a defensive response unlikely."

That means this could have happened when both animals were feeding on the same prey, or as a warning to stay away from the swordfish's meal.

Either way, 'stay well clear of swordfish' appears to be the take-home message.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube

Topics: Science, Africa, Interesting, Weird, Animals

Tom Wood
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