Treasure Coast Trivia- Summer 2022

Sharks have fascinated people world-wide for centuries. Test your local knowledge of the most feared and revered!

 

Florida ranked number one in unprovoked shark bites in 2021. In which activity were most victims engaged when bit?

A. Wading

B. Snorkeling

C. Surfing

D. Swimming at sunrise

The answer is C

Surfers and those participating in board sports accounted for most incidents (51% of the total cases). This group spends a large amount of time in the surf zone, an area commonly frequented by sharks, and may unintentionally attract sharks by splashing, paddling and “wiping out.” Swimmers and waders accounted for 39% of incidents, with the remaining incidents divided among snorkelers/free divers (4%) and body-surfers (6%).


 

Which of these tagged Great White sharks is the longest recorded visitor to Treasure Coast shores?

A. Katharine

B. Sable

C. Scot

D. Unama'ki

The answer is A

Katharine, a 14-foot, 2,300-pound great white, was first tagged in August of 2013 near Cape Cod and has pinged reliably off the Treasure Coast for more than seven years, making her one of OCEARCH's longest-running sources of data. She is a fan favorite, with more than 63,000 followers on Twitter. Katharine’s last pass through the Treasure Coast was in December of 2018, when she pinged about 10 miles off Jupiter Island. In May 2014, she pinged several times along the Treasure Coast, including, at one point, about a mile off Sebastian Inlet State Park. Her last ping was in May 2019 several hundred miles off the coast of South Carolina. OCEARCH is not concerned that she hasn’t been heard from since then. The average battery life of the tag used is only around five years.

 

The Indian River Lagoon is the most significant nursery on the East Coast to which of these species?

A. Black Tip

B. Bonnethead

C. Nurse

D. Bull

The answer is D

In 2011 a study was published by The American Fisheries Society by Tobey Curtis, Douglas Adams, and George Burgess entitled “Seasonal Distribution and Habitat Association of Bull Sharks in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida: A 30 Year Synthesis.” The study covers years 1975-2005. After reviewing the 30 years of research and conducting studies by catching and tagging these sharks, the researchers said the lagoon may be the “most significant bull shark nursery on the U.S. Atlantic Coast.”Bull sharks mate in the ocean and females arrive in the lagoon each spring to give birth as many as 18 pups. Adult females return to the ocean and the pups may stay in and around the lagoon for up to nine years.

 

The two most common sharks occurring on the beaches of the Treasure Coast are:

A. Blacktip & Spinner

B. Lemon & Silky

C. Hammerhead & Spinner

D. Lemon & Blacktip

The answer is A

While our area sees a large variety of shark species, Blacktips and Spinners the two most commonly occurring, since they migrate in large schools simultaneously off our shore. They are also the two most commonly confused for one another because they look and act a lot alike. Both are similar in size though Blacktips tend to grow a little larger, up to around 8 feet.They look alike but the Spinner has a dark tip on its anal fin. (Go figure!) During the fall mullet run, both species can often be seen jumping and spinning out of the water, which is spectacular to see, from shore of course. These are the two species most often implicated in bites on humans though most interactions are “bump and run” events where the shark mistakes a person for prey.Since Blacktips and Spinners generally pursue smaller prey, attacks on people are rarely serious.

 

Which Florida county sees the highest number of unprovoked shark bites?

A. Brevard

B. Volusia

C. Martin

D. St. Lucie

The answer is B

Since 1882, the International Shark Attack File has confirmed a total of 337 unprovoked shark bites in Volusia County, accounting for 63 percent of all Florida attacks.Brevard is second at 155.The counties that make up the Treasure Coast are further down the list with a combined total of less than 100.Indian River- 22, Saint Lucie- 37, and Martin- 40.

 

The largest shark occurring off the Treasure Coast is:

A. Great White

B. Great Hammerhead

C. Whale Shark

D. Tiger Shark

The answer is C

Whale sharks are the largest fish and shark species in the world and have been spotted around Florida mostly by divers and boaters in deep waters. Known as the “gentle giants” of the sea, whale sharks grow up to around 40 feet, though the largest documented individual in the world was more than 60 feet. The two most recent and remarkable Treasure Coast sightings happened off Fort Pierce and Stuart. In January of 2019, some lucky fishermen on a popular charter out of Fort Pierce spotted a 20-footer that spent some time around the boat. The captain reported to TC Palm that “in 31 years I’ve only seen them three times off this coast.” Then, in January of 2021, a photographer saw and filmed an individual estimated to be around 25 to 30 feet long just 40 feet from the shore at Stuart Beach.

 

Bull sharks, common to the Treasure Coast, are examples of diadromous fish which means which of the following?

A. They have two dorsal fins

B. They are a different color on top than underneath

C. They can transition between salt and fresh water

D. Females are larger than males


The answer is C

Bull sharks common on the Treasure Coast. They do have two dorsal fins, are grey on top with white bellies and females, like most requiem sharks, are larger than males. But the term diadromous refers to their ability to transition with ease between salt and freshwater environments. While they may be the best known for this trait, they are actually one of 43 species of cartilaginous fishes that can tolerate varying salinity. Others include certain rays, skates, and sawfish.

 

What is the name of the largest tagged Great White shark on record to ping off the Treasure Coast?

A. Unama'ki

B. Vimy

C. Sable

D. Katharine

The answer is A

Unama'ki, a 15-foot, 5-inch and 2,076-pound female great white shark, is the Treasure Coast’s newest snowbird. She was originally tagged in Nova Scotia in September of 2020 and made her first appearance off Vero Beach in November of the same year a few days later she pinged off Key Largo. Unama’ki is the second largest great white shark ever tagged by OCEARCH. Her name is a term that means "land of the fog" in the language of the indigenous Mi'kmaq people of Nova Scotia. The largest white shark ever tagged by OCEARCH is Nukumi, a female measuring just over 17 feet and weighing in at 3,541 pounds!

 

This rare animal, often mistaken as a shark species, was encountered by a diver just 2.5 miles south of the St. Lucie inlet in May of this year.

A. Manta Ray

B. Sawfish

C. Chimaera

D. Atlantic Guitarfish

The answer is B

This past May, a spear fisher and diver caught a rare sight at a popular artificial reef known as Bull Shark Barge, of small tooth sawfish.While little is known about this critically endangered species, it is a cartilaginous fish that belongs to the Subclass Elasmobranchii, which also includes all sharks and rays, but it is not a type of shark. Sawfish used to be common in Florida but have been unintentionally overfished due to their "rostrums" or "rostra," a long toothy protrusion from their heads that become easily entangled in any kind of fishing gear. This, coupled with their slow reproduction rate, has reduced the population what is estimated to be only around 5,000 adults in the world.

 

Interested in tracking sharks? Visit the OCEARCH tracker HERE.

Cover Photo By Clark Morgan, Seamore Photography