Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Monday, 18 August 2008 11:43 UK

'Leaping' sharks surprise experts

Sea Life centre staff had never seen the fish leap before

Six baby dogfish have revealed what is believed to be a little-known ability to "fly" at a Blackpool aquarium.

The infant dogfish, a species of shark, were being placed in one pool of water at the Sea Life Centre when when they leapt into another pool.

Scott Blacker, senior aquarist, said only two species of shark were usually associated with breaching - the Mako shark and the Great White.

He said he was amazed as he had never heard of dogfish showing the ability.

Staff 'amazed'

"In the wild newborn dogfish are at risk from a variety of predators including adults of their own species," said Mr Blacker.

"So this salmon-like ability is probably a valuable defence mechanism.

"I was amazed. I'd never heard of dogfish doing anything like this, and no-one else I've talked to has ever seen it before.

"Within the space of about 20 minutes all six had jumped out again."

Mr Blacker and his colleagues believed the trigger for the salmon-like leaps was a cold current flowing into the pool they were first placed in.

Details of their previously unsuspected athletic prowess will appear in the next issue of the Sea Life network's newsletter.

"The great thing about this job is that you learn something new almost every day," Mr Blacker added.

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