Responses of the southern stingray (Dasyatis americana) and the nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) to permanent magnets
The behavioral responses of free-swimming, wild southern stingrays (Dasyatis americana) and nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) to permanent magnets were evaluated in the Florida Keys, USA. Animals were attracted to a baited magnetic treatment board consisting of two 15 cm × 10 cm × 5 cm grade C8 Barium-Ferrite (empirically, BaFe12O19) permanent magnets producing a flux of 950 gauss at their surface and a baited procedural control board containing two smooth nonmagnetized clay bricks. In the presence of permanent magnets, D. americana and G. cirratum demonstrated a significantly greater number of avoidance behaviors away from the magnet side of the apparatus, while both species fed a significantly greater number of times from the non-magnetized procedural control side. Thus, D. americana and G. cirratum showed sensitivity to a magnetic field and were successfully repelled from baited areas containing magnets. The results from the current study suggest that the use of grade C8 Barium-Ferrite permanent magnets as an avoidance mechanism (e.g., repellent) to reduce elasmobranch mortalities associated with fishing operations and beach nets merits further investigation.