Scientists have discovered an omnivorous shark that feeds both on plants and other animals. The Bonnethead sharks also classified as the smallest member of the hammerhead has been observed by scientists eating seagrass for over a decade.
Since these sharks normally eat up lots of grassy sediments to eat other creatures on the seafloor, it was not clear if it was able to get the nutrients from the grass or it was just a method of hunting.
In order to test the findings, bonnethead sharks were caught off the Florida Keys and transported to an outdoor lab facility. To determine if the grass is sustenance for the sharks, the scientist laced an aquatic laboratory with carbon-13, which is a traceable isotope that was taken in by the seagrass in the enclosure.
These sharks were fed with 90% seagrass and 10% squid for three weeks. The team of researchers than analyzed the blood and digestive system by examining the shark feces. They found isotopes along with plant-digesting enzymes in the guts of the sharks.
This discovery has led the researchers to declare that the sharks eat the seagrass purposefully and it brings then nutrients.
It is estimated that 60% of bonnethead sharks diet comprises seagrass in the wild.
Scientist plan to continue to study to find if the bonnethead is specially adapted to eating seagrass or there are other types of sharks that are omnivorous too.
Who could have thought sharks eat salad with seafood.
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