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Multisensory integration in shark feeding behaviors

Jayne Gardiner

The bonnethead is a small, abundant coastal species of hammerhead inhabiting inshore waters of the southeast U.S. coast.  Bonnetheads specialize on crustaceans such as small spiny lobster in the Florida Keys and small crabs along the southwest Florida coast (Cortes et al. 1996), using ram-biting almost exclusively (Wilga and Motta, 2000).  I am examining the striking preferences of intact animals as they are presented with spatially separate sources of olfactory, mechanical and electrical stimuli, as well as the effect of sensory lesions on the kinematics of the capture of live prey.  Due to their laterally expanded heads and widely spaced electrosensory pores (Kajiura and Holland, 2002), this species is expected to be an electrosensory specialist.

 

Hammerhead Pictures 
Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran)

Bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo)