Diet of the bonnethead (Sphyrna tiburo) along the northern Gulf of Mexico and southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States Academic Article uri icon


  • The diet of a potentially omnivorous coastal shark species, the bonnethead (Sphyrna tiburo), was examined in the western Atlantic along the coast of the southeastern United States. A total of 423 stomachs collected from Texas, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina were analyzed using standardized stomach content analysis methods. The diet was dominated by crabs, primarily portunids (Callinectes spp.), across the geographical range analyzed, though the relative importance of crabs varied between regions. Ontogenetic shifts in diet were not observed throughout the region studied. Female and male bonnetheads in South Carolina displayed different diets, particularly in the amount of portunid crabs consumed, with a higher proportion ingested by females. Bonnetheads consumed limited amounts of seagrasses in all regions except in South Carolina, where they occupy habitats without seagrasses in marsh dominated bays and estuaries. This finding indicates that, at least seasonally, seagrasses are not an essential part of the diet of this shark species and may only occur in stomachs as accidental ingestion.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Branham, C. C., Frazier, B. S., Strange, J. B., Galloway, A. S., Adams, D. H., Drymon, J. M., ... Sancho, G.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Branham, CC||Frazier, BS||Strange, JB||Galloway, AS||Adams, DH||Drymon, JM||Grubbs, RD||Portnoy, DS||Wells, RJD||Sancho, G

publication date

  • August 2022