Diet, Feeding Habits, and Diel Feeding Chronology of the Bonnethead Shark, Sphyrna Tiburo, in Southwest Florida
Abstract:The diet, feeding habits, and diel feeding chronology of the bonnethead shark, Sphyrna tiburo, in Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor, two estuaries of southwest Florida, were investigated through analysis of stomach contents. The diet was very homogeneous and was dominated by crustaceans, consisting mostly of blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, followed by seagrasses and traces of mollusks, teleosts, and other material. A significant prey/predator length relationship was found for C. sapidus and S. tiburo. Contingency table analysis and measures of dietary overlap and diet breadth were used to detect seasonal, sex, size, locality, and habitat-related quantitative differences in stomach contents. Results suggest that S. tiburo is a specialist that undergoes dietary shifts depending on season and habitat. Discontinuity of feeding was investigated using two different statistical techniques and results varied by method, revealing the shortcomings of the most commonly used approach and the limited value of considering only stomach contents weight to investigate diel feeding chronology.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1996-03-01
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