Q:

What eats seagrass?

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Quick Answer

There are only a few species of animals that eat sea grass, primarily larger grazing animals such as green sea turtles, manatees and dugongs. A number of fish and crustaceans can also eat seagrass, including garfish, leatherjackets, black swans and several species of crabs.

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Full Answer

In addition to the animals that feed directly on it, seagrass habitats also support hundreds of other species either directly or indirectly. Many species that have a direct relationship with this plant, such as conchs and other crustaceans, which feed on the algae that grows on the blades of seagrass.

Sea urchins, snails, limpets, conchs and many other gastropods, isopods and amphipods also get their food from seagrass as well. These species all primarily eat tiny plants known as epiphytes, which grow on seagrass and seaweed. There are also many smaller organisms, such as plankton, that live mainly off of eating decomposing seagrass leaves.

Mussels, oysters, clams, barnacles, sponges and other animals are also common in seagrass beds, growing directly attached to the plant's blades.

All of these animals living off seagrass results in attracting many more species to the area, especially predatory fish of all shapes and sizes, including sharks. Seagrass beds are often home to many predatory squids, octopus and crustaceans as well.

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