Despite being a characteristically sluggish species, the Greenland shark is known to feed on an incredibly wide variety of prey, including relatively large and active species of fish, seals and even cetaceans (2) (4). Other food items include seabirds, squid, crustaceans and molluscs, as well as all sorts of carrion and offal, making it a regular visitor to the waters around whaling stations and fishing operations (2). Somewhat bizarrely, even parts of horses and entire reindeer have been found in the stomachs of some large Greenland sharks (2) (4).
Almost all Greenland sharks are parasitized by a strange copepod that attaches itself to the shark’s corneas, over time severely damaging its eyesight. However, given that this shark spends much of its time at depths where light does not penetrate, it probably has little use for its small eyes. In the past, it has been speculated that the copepod may act as a fishing lure to attract the shark’s prey, but there is currently no scientific evidence for this theory (2) (3) (4).
The Greenland shark appears to be a long-lived, late maturing and slow growing species (1) (4). It reproduces ovoviviparously, with the female carrying a large number of soft-shelled eggs before giving birth to live young (2) (4).