Q:

What is the food chain for the tiger shark?

A:

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.

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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