Scientists Discovered the First Vegetarian Shark

Scientists Discovered the First Vegetarian Shark

According to a scientist that bloodthirsty urge to eat meat is not in every shark’s DNA. A team of researchers from Florida International University and the University of California, Irvine has identified an omnivore shark which does not only eat meat but plants as well.

The vegetarian sharks

According to the study which got published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, even though this shark is not really vegetarian, it is an omnivore, its name is bonnethead, and its favorite meal includes seagrass.

A UC Irvine researcher, Samantha Leigh has the department of evolutionary biology and ecology and is the lead author of the study. She said she got interested in what the bonnethead eats from reading a 2007 study on the amount of grass this species eats.

The scientist had the main route. To find out if the shark was eating seagrass out of desire or because it happened to be stuck on the meat it ate.

How was the study conducted?

A number of bonnetheads were brought into the lab by Leigh’s team, and they were put on a diet made out of 90% seagrass. To see if the grass was digested by the sharks, the scientists treated their food with a particular chemical tracer which would show during their blood draws.

The results of the study suggested that sharks have the same enzymes that help us break down plant material and that they were digesting the grass.

The subjects of the study which lead to those results were based in the Florida Keys where they got the seagrass from. A reason why this type of shark would eat grass is of its desire not to get in a conflict with other species such as the nurse sharks and bull sharks on food.

On the bonnethead’s favorite foods list, there are squid, crabs, small fish, and small invertebrates.


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