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Feeding strategy of the megamouth shark Megachasma pelagios (Lamniformes: Megachasmidae)

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The feeding biology of the planktivorous megamouth shark Megachasma pelagios was investigated. Morphological examination disclosed that the megamouth has a suite of unique characteristics among sharks, such as large mouth, large bucco-pharyngeal cavity, elongate jaw cartilages, long palatoquadrate levator and preorbital muscles, long ethmopalatine ligament and elastic skin around the pharynx. The combination of these characters suggests that the megamouth shark performs engulfment feeding that is typically seen in the rorqual and humpback whales. Engulfment is a new feeding method for sharks, and the detailed mechanism of the engulfment feeding is discussed.

Keywords: Cetorhinus; Rhincodon‘suction’; balaenopterid; engulfment; ram ‘suction’

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, 3-1-1 Minato-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 041-8611, Japan

Publication date: July 1, 2008


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