The Surprising Diet Of The Dreaded White Shark

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The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, is an important contribution to understanding the feeding and migratory habits of sharks.

The first study of the diets of great white sharks on Australia’s east coast reveals that this dreaded predator spends more time feeding near the seafloor than expected.

“Inside the stomachs of sharks we find remains of a variety of fish species that generally live on the sea floor or are buried in the sand. This indicates that sharks should spend a good part of their time feeding just above the seabed” said lead author Richard Grainger, a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney School of Life and Environmental Sciences. 

“The stereotype of a shark’s dorsal fin on the surface while hunting is probably not a very accurate image,” he said.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, is an important contribution to understanding the feeding and migratory habits of sharks.

Dr Vic Peddemors, co-author of the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), said: “We found that although mid-water fish, especially salmon from eastern Australia, were the predominant prey for juvenile white sharks, the stomach contents highlighted that these sharks also feed on or near the seabed. “

Grainger said: “This evidence is consistent with the data we have from tagging great white sharks showing that they spend a lot of time many meters below the surface.”

The study examined the stomach contents of 40 juvenile white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) caught in the NSW Shark Meshing Program. Scientists compared this to data published in other parts of the world, mainly South Africa, to establish a nutritional framework for the species.

“Understanding the nutritional goals of these cryptic predators and how they relate to migration patterns will give an insight into what drives the conflict between humans and sharks and how we can better protect this species” said Dr. Gabriel Machovsky-Capuska, Senior Research Associate Investigator at Charles Perkins Center and co-author of the study.

Grainger said: “Great white sharks have a varied diet. In addition to eastern Australian salmon, we found evidence of other bony fish, such as eels, whiting, red mullet, and turnips. We found that stingrays were also an important dietary component, including manta rays. and electric streaks.

The Surprising Diet Of The Dreaded White Shark

“This fits in with many other studies we have done that show that wild animals, including predators, select precisely balanced diets to meet their nutrient needs” said co-author Professor David Raubenheimer, president of Nutritional Ecology at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Tracking of white sharks shows that they migrate seasonally along Australia’s east coast from southern Queensland to northern Tasmania, and the range of motion increases with age.

The Surprising Diet Of The Dreaded White Shark

 

Source: Excelsior