Diet of great white sharks: surprise from biologists

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Diet of great white sharks: surprise from biologists

Australian scientists have found that sharks extract a significant portion of their food from the ocean floor.



"The stereotypical picture of a shark's fin sticking out of the water as it hunts is probably not very accurate," says Richard Granger of the University of Sydney. According to the scientist, he discovers various types of fish in the stomachs of sharks, which usually live near the bottom or burrow in the sand.

This was reported by the stomach contents of about forty young white sharks. Their food is based on salmon and other fish that live in the middle oceanic layers, but sharks hunt for a significant part of the time at great depths at the bottom.

The shark diet turned out to be quite diverse - along with salmon, these large marine predators eat eels, whiting, wrasse, mullet, flounder, stargazer and flat-headed fish, as well as stingrays, including benthic spiny-tailed and electric rays. “They also hunt eagle rays, although this is difficult for sharks given how fast the rays can swim,” says Granger.


It is estimated that salmon make up about a third of the shark's diet, bottom fish nearly 20%, and another 15% cartilaginous fish, in particular stingrays. And 5% is accounted for by the inhabitants of coral reefs, such as, for example, the blue groper.


Scientists cannot identify the rest of the stomach contents. Perhaps these are squids, cuttlefish, large marine mammals, as well as their own relatives. According to Granger, dolphins or other sharks are practically not hunted by these fish until they reach a length of at least 2.2 meters.


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