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Bonnethead Shark Named First-Ever Omnivorous Shark Species

Consider it the foodie among shark species.


Maybe "Jaws" wouldn't have terrified people so much if it featured the bonnethead shark. That's because this shark's diet is 60 percent grass.

Yep, sharks like veggies too.

bonnethead shark omnivorous

Giphy

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and Florida International University teamed up to study these relatives of the hammerhead shark who have been spotted eating seagrass.

Giphy

The scientists wanted to get to the bottom of this feeding habit and figure out whether it was intentional grazing or accidental chomping.

"A lot of people kind of just thought [the sharks] were consuming it incidentally, after going after crabs and squid and other little invertebrates that live in the seagrass meadows," study researcher Samantha Leigh said, according to Scientific American. "So everyone thought they were kind of just passing it through their system and not really getting anything from it."

But their research on five bonnetheads found that not only can they eat grass, but they actually gain nutrients from it and are able to digest it. In fact, their bodies broke down more than half of the plants' organic material.

That's about the same as a juvenile green sea turtle, according to the Guardian.


This makes the bonnethead the first-known omnivorous shark species.

bonnethead shark omnivorous

Giphy

According to the National Aquarium, these sharks may not be great-white-sized, but they can still ring in at 2.5 to 4 feet, with some reaching up to 5 feet.

And while they do use this size to their advantage to stalk prey like fish, crabs, snails and shrimp, according to the Guardian, their veggie preferences prove that not all sharks are bloodthirsty 100 percent of the time.

Here we thought the krill-eating whale sharks were the most gentle eaters of the sea because they're huge and yet eat microscopic creatures like whales do.

But it doesn't get much nicer than a sharp-toothed shark chowing down on some plant life.

Giphy/New England Aquarium

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