First known omnivorous shark species identified

Bonnethead shark

 

 

 

 

It is one of the most radical rebrandings in history: contrary to their bloodthirsty image, some sharks are not irrepressible meat eaters, but are happy to munch on vegetation too.

According to US researchers, one of the most common sharks in the world, a relative of the hammerhead which patrols the shores of the Americas, is the first variety of shark to be outed as a bona fide omnivore.

The bonnethead shark is abundant in the shallow waters of the eastern Pacific, the Western Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico, where they feed on crab, shrimp, snails and bony fish. Though small by shark standards, adult females – the larger of the sexes – can still reach an impressive five feet long.

Scientists at the University of California in Irvine, and Florida International University in Miami, decided to investigate the sharks’ dietary habits after reading reports of the fish chomping on seagrass, the flowering marine plant that forms subsea meadows in some coastal waters.

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