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Scientists are trying to figure out why sharks keep gathering in the middle of nowhere every single year

Being some of the most dangerous creatures in Earth’s oceans, sharks have been the subject of extensive study for many, many years. Scientists know a lot about their diet, behavior, and even what causes the sharks to sometimes mistakenly attack humans. Despite all this, one big question remains: Why do so many sharks travel to the exact same spot in the middle of nowhere, year after year?

The location, nicknamed the White Shark Cafe, is located roughly halfway between Baja California and Hawaii, and every winter it becomes a hot spot for several species of shark, including great whites, blues, and makos. But figuring out exactly what they’re doing there has taken years of research, and it’s not done yet.

What’s most peculiar about the White Shark Cafe is that it’s in a relatively featureless spot in the Pacific. Scientists knew tagged sharks were traveling there every year but since the area was believed to be barren it seemed totally unexplainable. Still, every year would bring more and more evidence that something was going on there, so a team of scientists from several institutions including the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Stanford University set out to solve the mystery once and for all.

The team spent weeks at sea, traveling along the path to the Cafe that normally takes sharks up to 100 days to complete. That’s an incredibly long journey, so there must be something happening there that’s worth the trouble.

What the team discovered was that, rather than an empty stretch of ocean, the Cafe actually plays host to excitable fish that produce a bioluminescent glow that lights up the dark waters right on the edge of where sunlight can no longer penetrate. Every day, the sharks would dive hundreds of feet down to where these flashy fish congregate and, it’s believed, feast on any smaller predators that are hunting the glowing creatures.

That may be one piece of the puzzle, but while observing the sharks the researches noticed another bizarre ritual taking place. The male sharks would form v-shaped patterns as they dove, continuing to zig-zag repeatedly as often as 140 times in a single day. The scientists are still clueless as to why they did this, or why only the male sharks were behaving this way, but they believe it’s either a hunting technique or perhaps something to do with mating.

Further analysis of the data is planned, and the scientists have a lot of work ahead of them before they can truly explain the White Shark Cafe phenomenon with certainty, but the picture is beginning to take shape.

Ticked-off Canadian crabs are waging war on the United States and scientists are powerless to stop them

Canada and the United States usually get along pretty well, and that’s probably because Canadians are just so darn nice. They apologize for everything, they don’t mind bizarre weather, and they’re always looking out for each other. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Canadian crabs, which are some of the most absurdly aggressive marine creatures around, and now they’re moving south.

As the Boston Globe reports, green crabs from Canada are beginning to march down to coast of the United States, and they’re picking fights with anyone who comes near. They’re unpleasant, rude, and might actually push away native species that were getting along just fine on their own.

The crabs are actually the same species that can already be found further south along the coast of Maine, but for some reason they’re a whole lot more aggressive. Rather than simply living their lives in flowing sea grass and eating when they’re hungry, the Canadian crabs take a scorched-Earth approach by chopping down vegetation with their claws and killing any small sea creatures that get in their way.

These angry organisms have been found along Maine on occasion, but it seems they’re pushing farther south than before. In a new survey of crab populations in Maine, the nasty Canadians were spotted at a rate of about one out of every 50 green crabs. A study of the local marine ecosystem and the crabs’ impact on it is being prepared for publishing.

As University of New England researchers Louis Logan explains, we might be powerless to stop them. “It will be an entirely different ball game,” Logan told the Boston Globe. “It’s just a question of when more of the crabs come and out-compete the Maine green crabs. We can’t do anything about it. The only thing that we can do is learn how to live with it.”

Using Medieval DNA to track the barbarian spread into Italy

Cemeteries from the Longobard spread into Italy tell tales of migration and mixing.

Gangs of beetle larvae lure fathers of their next meal into sex trap

Once in with the bee larvae, they eat them and the food the bees left for them.

Transplanted mammals take a century to learn to “surf the green wave”

Animals returned to their native range don’t understand the unfamiliar territory.