We report herein on novel observations of associations between 2 teleost species and a variety of shark species in the Gulf of Mexico. Using underwater video, we observed Decapterus punctatus (Round Scad) and Chloroscombrus chrysurus (Atlantic Bumper) associating with both Carcharhinus limbatus (Blacktip Shark) and Carcharhinus brevipinna (Spinner Shark). We also observed Round Scad associating with Carcharhinus acronotus (Blacknose Shark). Both Round Scad and Atlantic Bumpers schooled around and followed these sharks. We observed Round Scad in schools averaging 54 individuals that tended to stay posterior to the pectoral fins of the shark. These observations prompted a novel on-line image survey wherein we found that Round Scad were associated with 3 additional shark species. Online media platforms have not been commonly utilized for data collection, and to our knowledge, this is the first study to conduct a Google Image survey to obtain data supporting interspecific associations. This paper is also the first report of an apparent symbiosis between various shark species with Round Scad and with Atlantic Bumpers. There are few reports of associations with sharks aside from well-known examples, such as Echeneis naucrates (Sharksucker), Naucrates ductor (Pilotfish), and Labroides spp. (cleaner wrasses). These results provide additional information to the body of literature about symbioses between top predators, such as sharks, and teleosts.
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Vol. 18 • No. 3