Diet of two commercially important shark species in the United Arab Emirates: milk shark and slit-eye shark

paper3Published online on 17. June 2015

Diet of two commercially important shark species in the United Arab Emirates: milk shark, Rhizoprionodon acutus (Rüppell, 1837), and slit-eye shark, Loxodon macrorhinus (Müller & Henle, 1839)

R. W. Jabado, S. M. Al Ghais, W. Hamza, A. C. Henderson, A. A. Al Mesafri


The diets of the milk shark, Rhizoprionodon acutus, and the slit-eye shark, Loxodon macrorhinus, landed from the artisanal fishery in the Arabian Gulf waters of the United Arab Emirates were investigated to determine their dietary preferences. Stomach contents from 57 milk sharks and 53 slit eye sharks were collected from Abu Dhabi (R. acutus, n = 23), Dubai (R. acutus, n = 5; L. macrorhinus, n = 15) and Ras Al Khaimah (R. acutus, n = 29; L. macrorhinus, n = 38) during fishery surveys from January to May 2012. Prey items were identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level, grouped into five categories including ‘teleost fish’, ‘cephalopods’, ‘crustaceans’, ‘invertebrates’, and ‘other’. The diets of both species were described using the numeric, frequency and weight methods, and the index of relative importance (IRI). The majority of stomachs for both species had food, with 66.6% of milk shark stomachs and 90.5% of slit-eye shark stomachs containing prey items, both dominated by small teleosts. Rhizoprionodon acutus fed on a wide variety of teleost species, primarily Engraulidae (anchovies) (28%), Gerreidae (mojarras) (5.6%) and Carangidae (jacks) (1.6%) with occasional crustacean and cephalopod prey (8%). On the other hand, L. macrorhinus seemed to have a preference for one species in terms of teleosts (anchovies) (35.1%) and fed on a wider variety of crustaceans and cephalopods (22.6%). There was little overlap in the diets of these two species, suggesting that they may either be using different habitats or that in these waters, the milk shark is a generalist species while the slit-eye is a specialist feeder.

Journal of Applied Ichthyology. Early View Version, doi: 10.1111/jai.12805



Leave a Reply