Physiological adaptations have evolved to help sharks face rapid periods of feast. Tiger sharks are generalist apex predators that rely on a high-lipid/protein diet. To achieve a satisfactory nutritional condition, proper lipid absorption and hepatic storage are needed. Bile secretion in sharks is low and sporadic but increases during short periods of fasting. The present study describes a physiological impairment caused by bile accumulation in juvenile tiger sharks, possibly due to prolonged fasting. These evidences suggest that, even though sharks have adaptations that prevent them from dying from starvation, alarming physiological alterations might occur. Future studies are needed to assess how such a condition can affect wild populations, as well as possible sublethal consequences that could impact their long-term survival.
Bibliographical noteCopyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.
- Hepatobiliary alteration
- Physiological markers