How do Sharks Feed?
As we have mentioned on other occasions, many things are believed and feared about sharks, but little is really known about them.
On this occasion, we will talk about something that has generated many myths and, consequently, a lot of fear about sharks, which has to do with their diet.
As with other animals, sharks can also be classified into two broad categories. On one hand, we have planktivorous sharks and, on the other, carnivores. We will talk a little bit about each of these categories, so as to know a little better these amazing animal specimens that never cease to amaze us.
When we speak of planktivorous sharks, we are referring to those that feed predominantly on plankton. But what is plankton? Plankton is a group of organisms of a very small size, which live floating in the water, (in fresh water), with little resistance to the currents.
In this sense, it is considered under this category to be viruses and bacteria, as well as what has been called phytoplankton and zooplankton.
This is something we must not fail to mention that can result in a surprise considering the image that has been constructed of sharks. For example, those large specimens actually prefer zooplankton-based feeding over the meat.
Within this category, we can mention the whale shark, broad-leaved shark, and peregrine shark.
In addition, it is important to note that the feeding strategy of these types of sharks consists of the suction and the filtration of food by filaments of great length. It is the filaments that cause the shark to catch the plankton, while they are ingested in the form of large sips.
Given that the ability of sharks to chew is really low, they tend to consume between 0.5 and 3.0 percent of their weight per day.
Among the foods that a carnivorous shark tends to consume are: fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. In addition, the sharks that are a little larger, tend to feed on sea lions, seals, porpoises, dolphins and tuna, among other species.
Contrary to what might be thought, there are also several sharks that are truly demanding regarding the food they consume.
In this sense, we can mention examples such as the hammerhead shark, which feeds only on rays, while the blue shark chooses the squid and the tiger shark opts for turtles.
Within the feeding style of the sharks, we can also find the function that they fulfill for the ecosystem, because, within their habitat, they tend to leave those healthy individuals, while the sick or the most vulnerable species are eliminated, thus maintaining some stability.