Not a dolphin or a whale: Viral video shows shark flying through the air off Rockaway Beach


A shark leaping from the surface of the sea into the air is not your usual daily sighting. Yet one person was able to capture the spectacular sight on camera as their family took a surfing lesson on the waters of Rockaway Beach in New York.

Images of it have gone viral on social media platforms in recent days.

Jumping Shark Viral Video

(Photo: Photo by Samson Bush)

The community newspaper Rockaway Time posted the viral video to Twitter on Wednesday, July 20.

The footage was originally taken by Tricia Gahn on Tuesday, July 19, when her husband reportedly taught their son, Timmy, how to surf.

In the five-second video, viewers will notice the calm waters off Rockaway Beach when a small shark of an unknown species suddenly leapt from the depths and into the air out of nowhere.

The newspaper’s Twitter video garnered over 1,600 likes and was retweeted over 300 times in the early morning hours of Thursday, July 21.

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Spinner Shark Skin

Although the identity of the shark remains ambiguous, one of the commenters on the viral footage mentioned that it appears to be a spinner shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna).

According to the Florida Museum, said species of shark has a slender silhouette with a combination of gray and bronze.

Its name was derived for its distinctive ability for “air spinning behavior” on the surface of the sea.

The behavior manifests when the shark feeds, usually through schools of fish.

Spinner sharks target prey by moving in a spinning or spiraling motion along their longitudinal axis, catching fish as they swim from the water to the surface, the Florida Museum noted.

There are instances where it could reach up to 20 feet above the water surface.

With this, the museum’s description of the University of Florida spinner shark resembles that of the shark in the video.

However, the museum said there were times when they were mistaken for blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus), which has almost a similar appearance.

Spinner Shark Habitat

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said the spinner shark population distribution is found in both inland and offshore waters, particularly in higher salinity bodies.

However, juvenile spinners are known to follow the tide to lower parts of bays.

In the United States, the presence and migration of the species may extend along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the northern Gulf of Mexico.

On the Atlantic coast, the route includes waters from Florida to North Carolina, the US Wildlife Agency adds.

In addition, the FWC also points out that their main diet includes pelagic fish, including baitfish, rays, squid, and octopus.

Spinner sharks are often caught for sport with trolling tackle and jump out of the water when hooked, in addition to commercial value due to their marketable skin, fins, meat and liver .

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