Sorry, your version of Internet Explorer is too old to view properly.

Why not try Chrome instead.



Bull Sharks have most powerful bite

Bull shark © courtesy National Geographic

Shark Updates

Bull Sharks have the most powerful bite

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 21 October, 2012 : - - The shark with the most powerful bite isn’t the great white or hammerhead,it is the bull shark that bites with the most force relative to its size, according to a new study by the University of South Florida (USF). Marine biologists measured the bite strength from 13 different shark species. They discovered a nine-foot bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) had a bite force of 478 pounds, while a great white of similar size had a bite force of only 360 pounds.

'An 18-foot-long great white will still have a more powerful bite than an 11-foot bull shark, just by virtue of its size. But pound-for-pound, a bull shark of the same size would have a stronger bite,” said biologist Motta. “It’s all about the width of the jaws, and bull sharks have very wide heads. We’ve seen sea turtles bitten in half, and that takes quite a lot of force.”

“We expect strong bite force values in the larger sharks that occupy top positions in the food chain, for example, the great hammerhead, great white shark, tigers and bull sharks, but sometimes size is misleading. Although larger size sharks will exert higher values of bite force, the relative value of bite force is what matters, pound per pound, how strong is the bite?”



Biologists Habegger, Motta, and colleagues from the U.S. and Germany tested a variety of sharks and shark-like creatures, including the one-meter-long ratfish and the great white. They dissected specimens of the 13 creatures studied to analyze their jaws and jaw muscles, then calculated the amount of force that those muscles put forth when the jaws of each creature closed.

The effect that the size of each shark’s body had on bite strength was then mathematically removed from the equation, in order to ensure a level playing field for the smaller specimens.  The researchers admit they aren’t sure why such ferocious jaw strength exists. “From our knowledge there is no need of such massive values to break fish skin or even to puncture bone,” Habegger said.

“One idea is that this ability gives young bull sharks an advantage over other competing species; allowing them to eat more diverse prey earlier in their lives. But overall, bull sharks, which the research shows can bite with a force of almost 6,000N at the back of the jaw and more than 2,000N at the front, seem to have bites that are too powerful.”

The findings are published in the journal Zoology

Source: Science Direct/USF

Author: The Editors

Tags: Bull Sharks

Sharks: Surfersvillage


Latest photos


Follow us and sign up to our daily newsletter