Shallow water tidal flat use and associated specialized foraging behavior of the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran)

Robert P. Roemer, Austin J. Gallagher, Neil Hammerschlag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Abstract: Evidence suggests the great hammerhead shark, Sphyrna mokarran, is vulnerable to a variety of anthropogenic stressors, and is an understudied species of shark due to its cryptic nature and wide-ranging movements. While recognized as both a pelagic-coastal and a highly mobile predator, minimal anecdotal evidence exist describing shallow water habitat use by this species. This report describes six cases in which a great hammerhead shark utilizes an inshore shallow water flats environment (<1.5 m in depth), five of which involve prey capture. These observations permitted identification of two novel behaviors that may allow great hammerheads to inhabit these shallow habitats: a (1) prey-capture technique termed ‘grasp-turning’ that involves burst swimming at tight turning angles while grasping prey and (2) a post-predation recovery period whereby the shark maintains head-first orientation into the current that may facilitate respiration and prey consumption. These behavioral observations provide insights into the natural history of this species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalMarine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2016

Keywords

  • behavior
  • habitat use
  • hammerhead
  • predation
  • Shark
  • specializations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography
  • Physiology

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