How does an animal as large and ferocious-looking as the great white shark successfully attack its prey without detection? According to The Guardian, the fearsome animals use the ocean’s darkness and depth to their advantage.

Scientists in Guadalupe used an undersea drone to document the first great white predatory behavior filmed from beneath the water’s surface. They shot 13 hours of footage, which supported the idea that the great whites dive deep to use light to their advantage. They hover low above the sand, staying in the shadows until they detect and lunge toward other marine creatures swimming above. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Fish Biology

“If the shark hangs down at a great depth, in the darkness, then its prey swims above it silhouetted and the shark reduces its own likelihood of detection,” Greg Skomal, a biologist and lead author on the study, told The Guardian. “The remarkable new observations indicate that [my colleagues’] hypothesis is correct, and the sharks ambush from the darkness.”

The sharks also displayed some surprising behavior in the form of attacks on the drone, which they saw as potential prey. You can see the fish gnawing on the machinery in the video above from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and learn more about the scientists' research over at The Guardian’s website.

[h/t The Guardian]

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