In a first, scientists have discovered an omnivorous shark species which feeds on seagrass for 60 per cent of its food requirements.
Bonnethead sharks eat seagrass along with snails, crabs, bony fish and shrimp.
With this finding by the University of California researchers and those from the Florida International University in the US, we finally realise that the assumption of all sharks being carnivores is wrong!
WHAT IS SEAGRASS?
Seagrass is a marine, flowering plant and often create meadows on seabeds in some coastal waters.
More about the study on the omnivorous shark species:
- The bonnethead shark is found commonly in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Western Atlantic ocean
- These omnivorous sharks are not as large as per shark standards; but adult females which are larger than the males can grow to a length of five feet
- The researchers caught five bonnethead sharks and brought them to the lab, which were then fed on a three-week diet of the seagrass and squid
- The scientists ran a series of tests on the sharks after that which showed that the omnivorous species successfully digested the seagrass using enzymes that broke down the plant components, such as starch and cellulose
- Bonnethead sharks lack the kind of teeth best suited for chewing or mastication; so, to weaken plant cells, this omnivorous shark may rely on strong stomach acids so the enzymes can have their digestive effects
The findings which overturn the idea that all sharks are exclusive meat-eaters were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.