The blue shark is a large species of requiem shark that lives in temperate and tropical waters around the world. Characterized by their stunning blue coloration and long slim bodies, these fast swimmers are formidable ocean predators.
But what exactly do blue sharks eat with those razor-sharp teeth?
What Blue Sharks Eat
As opportunistic hunters, the diet of blue sharks is quite varied. They will eat pretty much anything they can capture and swallow. Their main prey items include:
- Bony fish
- Smaller sharks
Essentially, blue sharks feast on most marine animals smaller than themselves.
One of their favorite prey species is squid. These tentacled cephalopods provide a nutrient-rich food source for blue sharks. Hunting at night when many squid species rise up from the deep to feed, blue sharks uses their excellent vision and speed burst swimming to capture them. Large blue sharks have also been known to attack and consume larger squid species.
Blue Shark Ditet Studies and Stats
Small schooling fish like sardines and anchovies also make up a significant portion of their diet. A tagging study found that blue sharks feeding on anchovy bait balls consumed up to 4.3% of their body weight per day (Nakano et al. 1997). Their serrated teeth allow them to tear fish prey into chunks for swallowing.
A detailed examination of blue shark diet across multiple studies showed that although they occasionally eat unusual items like mollusks (3%) and seabirds (1%), their staple prey consists of energy-rich marine animals (Cortés 1999). Young sharks supplement their diet with plankton including krill, fish eggs and larvae.
|Krill, copepods, fish eggs, larvae
|Mollusks, garbage, carrion
In some cases, young blue sharks may even eat plankton and other tiny marine organisms to supplement their diet. This includes krill, copepods, fish eggs, and larvae. However, they switch to larger prey as they mature.
The opportunistic feeding habits of blue sharks also mean they occasionally eat unusual items. There are reports of them consuming seagulls, seabirds, mollusks, and even garbage and carrion. As apex predators, they play an important role in balancing marine food webs.
In summary, blue sharks are formidable open-ocean hunters that consume a wide variety of prey. Their diverse diet includes squid, cuttlefish, octopus, small bony fish, rays, smaller sharks, and even unusual items. Their unique blue coloration allows them to sneak up on prey in the dimly lit depths. So next time you see a blue shark, remember – that’s an eating machine!