Q:

What is the food chain for the tiger shark?

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Quick Answer

Tiger sharks probably have a wider diversity of prey than any other shark species. Their primary prey species include fish, sea turtles, mollusks, sea birds and other sharks, but virtually anything swimming in the ocean is fair game. Adult tiger sharks have few predators other than humans, but young tiger sharks must avoid large predatory fish and sharks.

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Full Answer

The specific prey of tiger sharks often varies from one location to the next. In some areas, sea snakes are common prey species, while dugongs are important prey in other areas. Tiger sharks have been called the ?garbage cans? of the sea, based on their penchant for eating strange items. Rubber boots, hubcaps, bags of charcoal, raincoats, handbags and other strange things are often found in the sharks? stomachs. One tiger shark even contained a suit of armor in its stomach.

Tiger sharks are at the top of the food chain in their local study areas. Because their impact on the ecosystem is disproportionately large to their prevalence, scientists refer to tiger sharks as a keystone species. This means that tiger sharks help to regulate the entire habitat by keeping prey species populations in check. Without the sharks to consume many of these small fish, the fish would consume too many resources from the habitat, which could cause the local ecosystem to collapse.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How does a tiger shark protect itself?

    A:

    Defense for tiger sharks centers mostly on their anatomy and their behavior. Tiger sharks get very large, up to 16 feet in length and 1,400 pounds. They also have very powerful jaws, with the sharp teeth typical of sharks.

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  • Q:

    What is the mako shark's favorite food?

    A:

    Mako sharks prey on a wide variety of pelagic fishes, including mackerels, herrings and salmon. Examination of specific populations from Cape Hatteras to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland indicates that the bluefish is preferred by the shortfin mako.

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  • Q:

    How many teeth does a sand tiger shark have?

    A:

    Sand tiger sharks have 44 to 48 upper teeth and 41 to 46 lower teeth, so they can have anywhere from 85 to 94 teeth in total. The front teeth are long and jagged and can be seen even when the shark's mouth is shut. Many of the sand tiger shark's teeth are small and are located in the back corners of its mouth.

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  • Q:

    What are the characteristics of a tiger shark vs. a great white?

    A:

    Great white sharks grow up to 21 feet long, have a lifespan of approximately 70 years and live in all the world's oceans. In contrast, tiger sharks grow to about 16 feet, have a lifespan of approximately 50 years and are only found in temperate climates, especially around islands in the Pacific. Though somewhat visually similar, the tiger shark also has characteristic tiger-stripe markings, though these are often faded in mature adults.

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