Great white shark sightings off Cape Cod have made headlines throughout much of the summer, but another large and notorious predator -- a tiger shark named Chantal -- also has been touring East Coast waters.
Chantal is one of three tiger sharks tagged last January off the Bahamas. The others are named Sir Richard and Mrazmataz.
The project is a collaborative research effort by the Marine Conservation Science Institute, Guy Harvey Research Institute and the Bimini Biological Field Station. All three sharks can be tracked via an iPhone/iPad app titled "Expedition White Shark."
On Monday, Chantal, who has traveled on a more northerly course than the other two sharks, was lingering off Long Island, just south of Cape Cod.
"Tiger Sharks don't tolerate cold water as well as great white sharks, but the warm waters of the Gulf Stream allow tiger sharks to stretch their range far north of the tropics in the summer," Michael Domeier, president of the Marine Conservation Science Institute, stated in a news release.
"What has been really interesting to watch as we track these tiger sharks is that they have all moved in very different directions, despite the fact they were all tagged in the same place on the same day."
Domeier is a white shark expert who has tagged several adult specimens at Guadalupe Island in the Pacific, about 160 miles west of Baja California.
A primary goal of the tiger shark project, like the white shark project, is to learn more about the species' movements and habits.
Though Chantal has passed several eastern seaboard states, she has not been inside of 35 miles from the coast, whereas white shark sightings have been made close to shore off Cape Cod (hence, the headlines).
The two others have been much closer to shore but Domeier said, "They seem to prefer the edge of the continental shelf, which is very deep water."
As for the white sharks tagged at Guadalupe Island, this is the time of year that the males return from open-ocean forays to the west. The larger females will not be far behind.
A lot has been learned about white sharks and tiger sharks, but there's lots more still to be learned.
-- Image showing tiger shark at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas is courtesy of Michael Domeier. This is not one of the tagged specimens. Graphic shows recent positions of three tagged tiger sharks