Sharks are color blind, new research suggests, with the toothy predators likely forever seeing the world in black and white.
The study, published in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, is the first to investigate the genetic basis and spectral tuning of the shark visual system.
The ramifications could be huge, helping to save both sharks and people.
"The work will have a major influence on human interactions with sharks," co-author Nathan Hart, a research associate professor at the University of Western Australia's School of Animal Biology and The Oceans Institute, told Discovery News.
"Firstly, this knowledge may enable us to design fishing gear that is more specific for target fish species and thus reduces unnecessary bycatch of sharks," Hart continued. "Secondly, it may help us to design equipment that is less attractive to sharks (wetsuits and surfboards, for example) that may help to reduce attacks on humans."
Building on a study from last year, Hart and his colleagues isolated and sequenced genes encoding shark photopigments involved in vision. Photopigments are light-sensitive molecules. Through a biochemical process, they signal this detection of light to the rest of the visual system.