Shark Lab

ELASMOBRANCH HUNTING STRATEGIES
by Scott W. Michael

Shark
Sharks and rays come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. They also employ a diversity of feeding behaviors to capture their food. A lovely Gulf catshark (Asymbolus vincenti), a nocturnal predator, is shown here. Photo by Scott W. Michael.
Although certain marine habitats often appear to teem with prey items, many of these organisms are equipped with defenses that make them unavailable as food to all predators. In response to prey adaptations, predators employ behavioral and/or anatomical features that enable them to thwart the different defense mechanisms of their prey.

Sharks have long been looked at as mindless eating machines. But as a result of underwater observation and telemetry tagging techniques, we have learned much more about the amazing feeding behaviors employed by sharks and rays. These animals exhibit a diversity of techniques to locate, capture and ingest their prey. These behaviors are the subject of this Coral Realm Guide.

Click on one of the links below to find out about each of the specific hunting strategies employed by sharks and rays.