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Feeding Behavior and Biomechanics

Feeding Behavior and Biomechanics

Chapter:
(p.311) Chapter 12 Feeding Behavior and Biomechanics
Source:
The Biology of Sharks and Rays
Author(s):
A. Peter Klimley
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226923086.003.0012

This chapter discusses the anatomy of the jaws and teeth of cartilaginous fishes as well as the role of the muscles and teeth in jaw extension, seizure, and handling of prey. Most sharks, rays, and chimaeras are tertiary consumers, occupying the same trophic level as the prey of the white shark. These species feed upon small fishes, cephalopods, and mollusks that in turn feed on zooplankton. There are three steps in active predation: approach, seizure, and handling of the prey. The extent of attachment of the jaws to the cranium has lessened over evolutionary time in the cartilaginous fishes. The ancient sharks needed to swallow their prey whole due to the rigid attachment of the jaws to the cranium. The jaws of the modern sharks trend toward a less rigid attachment to the cranium.

Keywords:   sharks, rays, chimaeras, cartilaginous fishes, teeth, jaws, predation

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