The mate of a bronze whaler shark that washed up on an Auckland beach over the weekend has been found dead on the same stretch of coast just two days later.
A 2.5m-long male of the same breed was spotted at Devonport's Stanley Bay on Tuesday afternoon, following the discovery of a 3m female that washed ashore there on Sunday.
The Department of Conservation (DoC) says it's likely that the male shark that washed up yesterday is the one residents said was swimming close to the shore on Sunday, when the female was found.
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"There's a good chance that the male was interested in the female. They do get together at this time of year," DoC scientist Clinton Duffy told NZME.
Sharks of all kinds are known to form social cliques and interact with one another, and research shows they are capable of forming strong bonds with other sharks.
Bronze whaler sharks in particular tend to avoid isolating themselves, and regularly hunt in groups.
NIWA says the breed is one of the most abundant large shark species in our coastal waters. They are often seen in shallow waters where they lurk around reefs, estuaries, bays, and surf beaches.
"Sightings increase at this time of the year," NIWA Principal Scientist, Dr Malcolm Francis told Newshub.
"Partly because more New Zealanders head for the beach in summer, but also because they come into warmer waters to chase fish or give birth to their young."
The female shark was taken to Massey University for an autopsy on Sunday, which will help researchers understand why it died.