Grey Reef Sharks Munch on Grouper in Feeding Frenzy

posted: 11/06/15
by: Danny Clemens

A remarkable new video shows sharks doing what they do best -- eating.

Each year, up to 10,000 marbled groupers coverage upon a narrow channel in French Polynesia each year to mate. This year, a documentary crew was on hand as hungry sharks crashed the fish orgy in search of their next meal:


There was only one problem: these sharks weren't very good hunters. In a news release, researchers note that the sharks were only able to catch less than 10% of the fish that they targeted. Oftentimes, the fish that they did catch then became the target of multiple sharks, which fought over the catch until it was literally ripped to shreds.

Despite their imprecision, the shark's feeding still provided valuable insight into the poorly understood eating habits of one of the ocean's most fascinating creatures. Researchers noticed that the sharks preyed upon whichever fish was the most abundant in the ecosystem, regardless of its position in the food chain.

"Grey reef sharks are adaptable predators," said Dr. William Robbins, a shark researcher who analyzed the film. "This research shows sharks modify their hunting strategy based on the type of fish they are targeting-slow and steady for agile fish like fusilier, fast and furious for large fish like grouper."

Published in the academic journal Coral Reefs, Robbins' research was supported by The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation and Wildlife Marine.


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