Learning in Shark Predatory Behavior

Trial-and-Error Learning

Smaller, younger sharks have been observed hunting in wider areas than larger, older conspecifics, presumably because the more experienced sharks have learned where the best hunting areas are, and can concentrate their efforts. Larger sharks are also in general more succesful at catching prey, which could be attributed not only to superior strength and territory, but also learned hunting behavior.

In addition, white sharks (and all elasmobranches) have a high level of brain development, which would facilitate learning.

Foraging Decisions

The following decision tree proposed by Martin et al. suggests that great white shark hunting is a set of complex behaviors that require active decisions to be made by the shark as it attacks:


see Martin, R. A. in References