Florida's annual blacktip migration brings over 10,000 of the small sharks up the coast of the Sunshine State. Last winter, angler Joshua Jorgenson managed to capture a beautiful aerial view of the spectacle ... with some memorable cameos by a much brawnier shark: the great hammerhead.

The blacktips' big swim usually happens as water temperatures begin to drop in the Northern Hemisphere, with large aggregations beginning to form by January. Scientists are still trying to pin down the driving force behind the migratory event, but they suspect the sharks come to feed and bask in the warm coastal waters.

"It took me many hours and days to collect this footage, but it was an amazing experience," says Jorgenson. "I filmed several different hammerheads ranging from 12 to 14 feet."

For a half-ton fish that can swim four times faster than Michael Phelps, the great hammerhead is an astonishingly graceful creature.

As we've discussed before, the species (Sphyrna mokarran) is a regular visitor to North America's Atlantic coast. Back in 2015, biologists with the University of Miami Shark Research and Conservation Program managed to tag and release a 15-foot female in Florida. The very next year, an even larger individual turned up in Bahamian waters (that shark was allegedly killed after the initial sighting).

Like most of their close kin, great hammerheads grow extremely slowly, so seeing such large individuals in Jorgenson's footage is a great sign for the endangered population.  

One of the hammerheads, he says, did catch and eat a blacktip during the event, and that's certainly not unheard of: hammerheads do occasionally consume other sharks, though the majority of hammerhead-blacktip predations occur when the smaller sharks are caught on a line.

It's plain to see who's boss in these interspecies shark meet-ups, though the hammerheads in this video were probably patrolling the shallows for more everyday prey, like stingrays, when they muscled their way through the migrating blacktips. 



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