‘Omnivorous’ shark is happy to munch on seagrass

Rob Waugh

The bonnethead shark eats underwater plants as well as other sea creatures (PA).

For many of us, sharks will always be defined by the image portrayed in Jaws – bloodthirsty finned predators of the sea, hungry for flesh.

But at least one shark is made of less stern stuff, as American researchers found that it’s omnivorous – and happy to munch on seagrass.

The bonnethead is one of the most common sharks in the world, living in the Western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, and usually munching on crab, snails and bony fish.

But the five-foot creatures are equally happy eating seagrass, according to the researchers from the University of California in Irvine.

The bonnethead shark, the first species of sharks found to be omnivorous, scientists say (AFP Photo/Gal ROMA)

‘The bonnethead shark is the first known omnivorous species of shark,’ said researcher Samantha Leigh.


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“It has been assumed by most that this consumption was incidental and that it provided no nutritional value.

‘I wanted to see how much of this seagrass diet the sharks could digest, because what an animal consumes is not necessarily the same as what it digests and retains nutrients from.’