Watch Great White Sharks Team up to Patrol and Hunt in 'Kill Zone'

Great white sharks have been filmed patrolling and hunting together in a "kill zone," with researchers filming the predators hanging out together off Mexico's Guadalupe Island.

Some sharks were observed spending over an hour together checking out seal colonies in the area. "Seventy minutes is a long time to be swimming around with another white shark," Yannis Papastamatiou, from the Florida International University, said in a statement.

Papastamatiou led the research into the social dynamics of Guadalupe Island great whites. The findings, published in Biology Letters, suggest that these sharks have developed social foraging, where groups of animals look for food together. The team used cameras and tagging to measure interactions between sharks living in the region, finding associations between individuals.

From their interactions, the team believe these sharks will spend time together in order to share information about the location and availability of prey. Underwater cameras show the sharks swimming together. Footage from the expedition was featured in the Discovery Channel's Shark Week Episode Great White Kill Zone.

great white shark
Stock photo of a great white shark off Guadalupe Island. Researchers have found this population of sharks engages in social foraging, spending time together to patrol and hunt. Getty Images

Guadalupe Island, a 94-square-mile island that sits about 160 miles from Baja California, is renowned for its great white shark population. The volcanic island is a haven for great white shark prey, including seals, sea lions and tuna. Scientists have been tracking sharks there for decades.

Papastamatiou told Newsweek his team was looking at great white shark social behavior at Guadalupe Island after a team in Australia found evidence of social associations between sharks at baited diving cages. Another study on a population of sharks off northern California found they tended to stick together while hunting, potentially to "eavesdrop" on a kill.

At Guadalupe Island, the team found these social associations between sharks. But they also found there were differences between individual behavior in terms of how many associations they had, as well as where and when they were hunting.

The team tagged six sharks—three male and three female. Findings showed the sharks tended to stay in groups of the same sex. The number of associations varied widely. One shark mingled with 12 others, while another great white hung out with just two other sharks.

"I think there is growing evidence that white sharks have a lot of individual differences in behavior," Papastamatiou said.

He said they now plan to look at more great whites and their social dynamics: "I do believe we will find some evidence of social foraging in most white shark aggregations, but we will have to see.

"One would like a much larger sample size, so we need to get data from more sharks. We also want to study social dynamics over much longer periods. In our study each shark carried the tags for one to four days. Ideally we want to measure these dynamics over a year. As the technology continues to improve I think we will be able to do that."