ESR 25:283-293 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00615

Dietary overlap and partitioning among three sympatric carcharhinid sharks

Bree J. Tillett1,2,3,*, Mark G. Meekan2,4, Iain C. Field1,2,5

1Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0810, Australia
2Australian Institute of Marine Science, Arafura Timor Research Facility, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0810, Australia
3Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge Research Hub, Charles Darwin University, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0810, Australia
4Australian Institute of Marine Science, UWA Oceans Institute (MO 96), 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
5Graduate School of the Environment, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We used  stomach content and stable isotope analyses to compare diet as a proxy for ecological similarity among 3 tropical sharks, Carcharhinus leucas, C. amboinensis and the Endangered Glyphis spp.  Our analyses suggested that all 3 predators consumed mainly teleost fishes but also preyed on crustaceans, cephalopods and reptiles. Diets varied spatially and through ontogeny. Some juvenile C. leucas sourced prey from the same food web as juvenile C. amboinensis, although prey sources varied among C. leucas nurseries. Dietary overlap existed between sympatric adult C. leucas and C. amboinensis, and both species occupied higher trophic positions than juvenile conspecifics. Although sample sizes for Glyphis spp. were small, our results suggested previously undescribed dietary partitioning between this genus and the sympatric C. leucas.


KEY WORDS: Niche · Co-existence · Carcharhinus spp. · Sharks · North Australia


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Cite this article as: Tillett BJ, Meekan MG, Field IC (2014) Dietary overlap and partitioning among three sympatric carcharhinid sharks. Endang Species Res 25:283-293. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00615

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