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Nurse Sharks Display Amazing Underwater Gymnastics To Eat

Underwater cameras have revealed the impressive range of skills nurse sharks use when feeding, including turning themselves upside down to get their lunch. The new study, by the University of Exeter and NGO Beneath the Waves, used baited remote underwater video (BRUV) cameras off the Turks and Caicos Islands. The researchers identified a range of different feeding behaviours used by the sharks. These included vertical feeding (head down), ventral feeding (belly up) and “pectoral positioning” sharks flexing their pectoral fins in a motion similar to “walking” on the sea floor. “These feeding behaviours show that nurse sharks are adapted to feed on different prey across a variety of habitats." said lead author, Exeter's Kristian Parton. While most shark species have little movement in their pectoral fins, nurse sharks are related to epaulette sharks, which can “walk” on dry land using these fins. “Our footage suggests nurse sharks may do something similar on the sea floor.". The new research helps shine a light on the important role nurse sharks play on tropical reefs around the world.

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