Bite performance and feeding behaviour of the sand tiger shark

Published on
2. July 2019

Bite performance and feeding behaviour of the sand tiger shark Carcharias taurus

Joshua K. Moyer, Stephanie F. Shannon, Duncan J. Irschick


This study examines the feeding behaviour and kinematics of three sub‐adult sand tiger sharks Carcharias taurus on display at Mystic Aquarium (Mystic, Connecticut, USA). Using high‐speed video data from 52 bites, we identify kinematic variables associated with the expansive and compressive phases of the bite. The mean bite duration from the onset of the expansive phase to the conclusion of the compressive phase is mean (± SD) 0.14 ± 0.01 s and across the ten fastest bites of each individual, the maximum performance average is 0.13 ± 0.01 s. Values of maximum performance do not vary significantly among individuals. When compared with kinematic bite data from species studied previously, these results indicate that body size is not the only determinant factor of bite duration. This study also provides detailed descriptions of feeding behaviours in C. taurus and presents documentation of tooth loss both prior to and during feeding, suggesting that there are multiple mechanisms of tooth loss and use in C. taurus. Finally, we discuss the behavioural and ecological components of prey capture in C. taurus and suggest points of consideration to facilitate interspecific comparisons of prey capture performance in ram‐feeding macrophagous elasmobranchs.

Journal of Fish Biology, DOI: 10.1111/jfb.14086


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