Genetic mating system of the brown smoothhound shark

Published online on 16. December 2011

Genetic mating system of the brown smoothhound shark (Mustelus henlei), including a literature review of multiple paternity in other elasmobranch species

Rosemary J. Byrne and John C. Avise


Although an understanding of mating systems is thought to be an important component of long-term population management, these life history characteristics are poorly known in sharks. Here, we employ polymorphic microsatellite markers to test for the occurrence and prevalence of multiple paternity in a population of the brown smoothhound shark, Mustelus henlei. We analyzed litters from 14 females sampled from the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur. The minimum number of sires ranged from one to three with an average of 2.3 sires per litter. Regression analyses did not indicate a relationship between female body size and number of sires, or female body size and size of the litter. A review of the existing literature on genetic mating systems in sharks suggests that polyandry may be common and that reproductive behavior may have evolved from conflicting selection pressures between the sexes.

Marine Biology (2012), Volume 159, Number 4, 749-756, DOI: 10.1007/s00227-011-1851-z



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