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Diet of the milk shark, Rhizoprionodon acutus (Rüppel, 1837) (Chondrichthyes: Carcharhinidae), from the Senegalese coast


Author's address: Abdoulaye Ba, Département de Biologie Animale, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, B.P 5005, Dakar Fann, Senegal.



The diet of the milk shark, Rhizoprionodon acutus, from the Senegalese coast (12°30′N–14°45′N) was investigated in 3600 specimens with total lengths ranging from 44 to 113 cm for females and from 45 to 110 cm for males. Conducted from May 2010 to April 2011, the study revealed that of the 3600 stomachs examined, 577 contained food (16.03%). Cumulative prey diversity curves reached a stable level at 175 stomachs and thus the sample size was large enough to describe the overall milk shark diet. Relevant differences in the diet were found between sexes, maturity stages, sampling seasons and locations. The milk shark diet was composed of teleosts, crustaceans, mollucs, nematodes, annelids, and unidentified invertebrates. R. acutus seemed to have a preference for teleosts (98.75% in terms of IRI). The trophic level of milk shark calculated in this study was 4.2.