Baby tiger sharks eat SONGBIRDEN like sparrows and pigeons that fall from the sky when crossing the ocean
- Tiger sharks have the name & # 39; garbage bins from the sea & # 39; and are not picky eaters
- They eat almost everything they can, including dolphins, turtles and people
- This study has now added sparrow and pigeons to the extensive list
Tiger sharks have the name & # 39; trash cans of the sea & # 39; but young members of this species survive on a whole range of unusual animals – including songbirds, a new study has found.
It is believed that the birds fall from the sky and land in the water if they become tired or disoriented during long journeys and migrations.
Tiger sharks are known for almost everything they can eat, including dolphins, sea turtles and even humans.
The latest study from a team at Mississippi State University has now added sparrow and pigeons to this extensive list.
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These are songbird feathers in the stomach of a baby tiger shark. They are known to have almost everything they can eat, including dolphins, sea turtles and even humans. The latest study from a team at Mississippi State University has now added sparrow and pigeons to the list
Tiger sharks are in second place in human shark attacks, only behind the fearless great white ones.
But their varied diet includes birds far before they grow to their adult size of 15 feet (5 meters)
Research co-author Dr. Kevin Feldheim, a researcher at Chicago's Field Museum, led the DNA analysis that told the researchers which birds were eating the sharks.
He said: “Tiger sharks will see an easy meal and pick it up, but I was surprised to hear that the sharks ate songbirds – I assumed they would be sea birds.
& # 39; It was one of the coolest projects I associated with using DNA to tell a story. & # 39;
Main author Dr. Marcus Drymon of Mississippi State University and his colleagues investigated the feeding of juvenile tiger sharks by wrestling them on a boat, pumping the stomachs of the sharks and analyzing a sample of the contents.
The sharks were then released back into the ocean and were unharmed, the researchers say.
Dr. Drymon and the team were surprised to see that of the 105 sharks they studied, 41 had bird residues in their stomachs.
But since the birds were partially digested, it was hard for scientists to tell exactly what kind of birds they were, so the remains were sent to the Pritzker molecular system and evolution museum of the Field Museum for DNA analysis.
The researchers took small pieces of bird remains and used chemicals to break them down into their basic molecular components.
Researchers investigated the feeding of juvenile tiger sharks by wrestling the three-meter long sharks on a boat, pumping the shark's stomachs and analyzing part of their stomach contents (photo)
From there they could examine the DNA sequences in bird tissues and compare them with bird DNA databases to see which species they came from.
WHICH OAK TIGER SHARKS?
Sharks generally eat everything they encounter – fish, crustaceans, molluscs, marine mammals, birds and even other sharks.
Tiger sharks feed on different species of sea turtles and snakes.
They become & # 39; garbage bins from the sea & # 39; because they are opportunistic feeders.
This means that they eat both live food and decaying meat from dead creatures.
They will eat bony fish, other sharks, marine mammals, seabirds and invertebrates.
Sharks most often prey on weak, sickly injured or dying inferior creatures if they are easier to catch.
Dr. Drymon said: None of them were seagulls, pelicans, cormorants, or any other seabird.
& # 39; They were all terrestrial birds – the species that could live in your backyard. & # 39;
It is the first time that scientists have proven that tiger sharks eat songbirds that mainly live on land.
The sharks studied were in the Gulf of Mexico during the migration season.
Dr. Drymon said: & # 39; In all cases, the timing of the tiger shark that the bird ate coincided with the peak observation for that bird species off our coast.
& # 39; The tiger sharks look around songbirds that have difficulty flying over the ocean.
& # 39; They are already worn out during migration and become tired during a storm or fall into the ocean. & # 39;
The study was published in the journal Ecology.
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