Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 447–453 | Cite as

Predation by White Sharks Carcharodon carcharias (Chondrichthyes: Lamnidae) Upon Chelonians, with New Records from the Mediterranean Sea and a First Record of the Ocean Sunfish Mola mola (Osteichthyes: Molidae) as Stomach Contents

  • Ian K. Fergusson
  • Leonard J.V. Compagno
  • Mark A. Marks


The occurrence of marine turtles in the diet of white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, is reviewed worldwide. Four records of chelonians eaten by white sharks in the Mediterranean Sea are described, which on the basis of carapace remnants confirmed both the loggerhead Caretta caretta and green turtle Chelonia mydas to be preyed upon in those waters. The condition of these remains indicates that large white sharks can ingest turtles essentially intact. As well as falling prey to white sharks, we suspect that some interactions involve turtles being ‘grab-released’ in a non-predatory mannner and their survivability from such low-intensity bites or other mouthings may be quite high. The white shark may be the chief marine predator of adult chelonians in the Mediterranean Sea, albeit the impact of this predation upon turtle populations is nominal compared to other sources of mortality. Further, we give an account describing an adult ocean sunfish, Mola mola, in the stomach of a white shark taken in Italian waters.

marine turtles prey feeding grab-release 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian K. Fergusson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Leonard J.V. Compagno
    • 2
  • Mark A. Marks
    • 3
  1. 1.The Shark TrustNational Marine AquariumDevonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Shark Research Center, Division of Life SciencesSouth African MuseumCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.SPPASanteeU.S.A

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