Sandbar sharks mainly feed opportunistically on small bottom fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. Research suggests that their diet is related to their size. Juveniles and smaller sharks mainly feed on crustaceans, such as blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) and mantis shrimp (Lysiosquilla scabricauda). Larger sharks feed may feed on crustaceans as well, but will also consume elasmobranch prey including small sharks, skates, and rays. According to the IUCN Red List, a sandbar shark’s diet may include “sardines, shad, menhaden, anchovies, sea catfishes, moray and snake eels, pipefish, barracuda, mullets, goatfishes, hairtails, spanish mackeral, bonito, mackeral (Scomberomorus maculatus), jacks, groupers, croakers, grunts, porgies, flounders and soles, sea robins, toadfish, cusk eels, porcupine fish, sharpnose sharks (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae), spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias), bonnethead sharks (Sphyrna tiburo), guitarfish, skates, stingrays, squid, cuttlefish, octopi, bivalves and conchs, amphipods, shrimp and crabs.” Sandbar sharks are known to feed more actively at night.
Animal Foods: fish; mollusks; aquatic crustaceans
Primary Diet: carnivore (Piscivore , Eats non-insect arthropods, Molluscivore )
- Ellis, J., J. Musick. 2007. Ontogenetic Changes in the Diet of the Sandbar Shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus , in Lower Chesapeake Bay and Virginia (USA) Coastal Waters. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 80: 51-67.
- Stillwell, C., N. Kohler. 1993. Food Habits of the Sandbar Shark Carcharhinus plumbeus off the U.S. Northeast Coast, with Estimates of Daily Ration. Fishery Bulletin, 91: 138-150.