IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Ruining the reputation of sharks as bloodthirsty predators, Southern California researchers say they've found a shark that enjoys a side of sea grass with its prey.
Scientists at the University of California, Irvine, announced Wednesday that bonnethead sharks not only eat grass while chomping fish and shrimp — they also digest the plant and gain nutrition from it.
It turns out bonnetheads have high levels of enzymes that break down fiber and carbohydrates, compared to the low amount carnivores typically have.
Researchers say that makes the bonnethead the first known omnivorous shark.
It was previously believed that bonnetheads were consuming sea grass unintentionally.
The findings come after a four-year study of the small sharks found in shallow areas along some coastlines in the U.S and Central and South America.