Food choice & Resources

As a group, sharks and also batoids eat almost anything: fishes, crustaceans, molluscs, maritime mammals, and other sharks.

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While some sharks are most likely not an extremely selective feeders, certain sharks eat some foods an ext than others. Because that example, hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna spp.) are known for eat stingrays; bull sharks eat various other sharks; and smooth dogfish (Mustelus spp.) eat crabs and also lobsters.

Just around any pet in the ocean have the right to be a meal to a shark. An excellent whites prey on California sea lions, wobbegongs eat shrimp, and also tiger sharks feeding on several species of sea turtles.

Tiger sharks have been called "garbage cans of the sea" because they feeding opportunistically top top both live food and also carrion. Prey includes bony fishes, various other sharks, maritime mammals, seabirds, and invertebrates. Tiger sharks space ecologically vital predators the sea turtles and snakes.

Many sharks prey most regularly on the weak, worse members the the population. They choose the weak, ill, injured, or dice prey since it is less complicated to catch.

Food Intake

In a zoological environment, a shark eats around 1% to 10% the its complete body load per week. Studies on sharks in the wild show similar food intake. In various other words, a 2.75 m (9 ft.) sand tiger shark weighing 131kg (289 lb.) might eat just 2 come 6 kg (4-13 lb.) a week.

Methods of Collecting & eat Food

The characteristic teeth of each species are adjusted to the particular species" diet. The teeth might be serrated or smooth. Most are offered for seizing prey, cutting, or crushing. Because that sharks, plate-like triangle teeth room the most usual shape.


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Because that the biting pressure exerted through sharks (some approximately 8,000 pounds per square inch) and the absence of a hard jaw bone to anchor the teeth in place, teeth frequently break off while sharks space feeding. Castle are changed by this in reserve rows. The lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris) deserve to replace a tooth in around eight days.

Most predatory species of sharks seize, grasp, and tear food. A shark might circle that is prospective prey and also may also bump it through its snout or pectoral fins.

A shark"s jaws room loosely associated to the remainder of the skull at 2 points. As the upper jaw extends forward from the mouth, teeth of the reduced jaw an initial encounter prey. The lower jaw teeth puncture and hold prey. The upper jaw teeth slice. A shark"s quick jaws do the bite powerful.


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Many varieties of sharks and most rays are adapted for bottom feeding. Bottom feeders usage the top jaw to assist pick up prey items. One example of a bottom feeder, the horn shark has two species of teeth. Former teeth are pointed because that grasping and ago teeth are flat and molar-like for crushing. Stingrays (Family Dasyatidae) and also eagle rays (Family Myliobatidae) have actually teeth that space fused right into plates.

Most sharks swallow your food whole, without chewing. Part sharks, however, choose Port Jackson sharks (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) probably grind increase food v their back flat teeth.

Another mechanism some sharks and batoids usage collecting food is filter feeding.

beam in the household Mobulidae (Manta spp., for example), the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus), and also the megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) strain massive quantities the plankton native the water top top gill rakers. Approximately a ton the food has been found in a basking shark"s stomach.

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Whale sharks likewise filter feed, yet instead of making use of gill rakers, they strain plankton v a spongy tissue sustained by cartilaginous rods between the gill arches. Whale sharks deserve to filter 1.5 million liters (400,000 gallons) that water per hour.


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Filter feeders have actually reduced, nonfunctional teeth. Gill rakers space composed of thousands of tiny teeth, which are periodically changed as well. As soon as the gill rakers are lost in the basking shark, some believe it will "hibernate" for months till the gill rakers prosper back. It is theorized the a basking shark might go four or 5 months there is no eating together the gill rakers space replaced.

Some elasmobranchs room quite committed for feeding.

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A thresher shark (Alopias spp.) offers the long upper lobe that its tail to corral institutions of fish. A sawfish (Pristis pectinata) move its head from next to side and also strikes prey with its long rostrum. The sawfish has likewise been seen utilizing the prior of that is snout to dig for prey hidden under sand. Nurse sharks (Family Ginglymostomatidae) usage their thick lips to produce suction, successfully pulling their prey from holes and also crevices. A cookiecutter shark (Isistius spp.) supplies suction to connect itself come whales and huge fishes; the carves the end a core of flesh through its big triangular teeth. Pygmy sharks (Euprotomicrus bispinatus) take trip 1,500 m (4,920 ft.) up and also down from the ocean floor every night to feed. This is tantamount to a human climbing 11 km (nearly 7 miles) up and also down every day come eat.