Monday, 22 January 2018

Scientists have found a shark that can survive on a mostly vegetable diet

Bonnethead species is able to survive on a diet of plants, despite reputation as a predator

Josh Gabbatiss Science Correspondent 

Bonnethead sharks were experimentally fed with a diet of 90 per cent seagrass, which they were able to digest YouTube/Science Magazine

A species of shark that is able to survive on a diet consisting largely of plants, has been identified by scientists. 

Despite their reputation as carnivores Bonnethead sharks were able to survive when they were fed a diet of seagrass, a plant that grows on the ocean floor.

The study, led by Samantha Leigh, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Irvine, built on research conducted 10-years ago, which examined the creatures stomach contents.

That study revealed large quantities of seagrass. In some young sharks, scientists found over 60 per cent of the material in their stomachs was plant-based.

In order to establish whether sharks were intentionally feeding on plant material, or whether it was accidental, Ms Leigh and her colleagues fed captive sharks a 90 per cent seagrass diet for three weeks. The final 10 per cent was made up of squid. 

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