While the majority of us thinks that sharks are regularly bloodthirsty predators, a team of scientists from California, in the United States, discovered an omnivorous shark that enjoys seagrass as much as smaller marine creatures. The so-called Bonnethead sharks are not only eating plants along with their prey for satisfying a caprice, but they digest the aquatic plants and get nutrients out of them.
Because of its habits, this omnivorous shark presents more enzymes that can break down carbohydrates and fibers in comparison with the carnivorous shark species, according to the scientists from the University of California, Irvine.
In a video the University released, a bonnethead shark is observed while it eats a meal made of 10 percent squid and 90 percent seagrass. That makes the bonnethead shark be the first omnivorous shark ever discovered.
The finding of the first known omnivorous shark might lead to more study on seagrass and sharks communities
Until now, the scientists considered that bonnethead sharks were only eating aquatic plants unintentionally when they were swimming in shallow waters or along the coastlines. But, the recent discovery proves that these marine creatures eat grass on purpose to diversify their menu and get the nutrients it offers.
Bonnetheads are commonly about 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) long, being the smallest species among the hammerhead sharks. But, differently from their bigger “cousins,” these are omnivorous. On the other hand, the study’s lead author, Samantha Leigh, hopes that the discovery of the world’s first omnivorous shark would lead to better protective measures for the seagrass which is currently affected by global warming.
“The fact a highly abundant kind of shark feeds on the grasses is yet another indication of why we need to preserve this vegetation,” Samantha Leigh stated.
Also, Dr. Sandy Trautwein from the Aquarium Of The Pacific in Long Beach called the discovery “unique” and added that the new findings might lead to more study on the seagrass and sharks communities.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.