Lack of multiple paternity in the oceanodromous tiger shark

Published on 17. January 2018

Lack of multiple paternity in the oceanodromous tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)

Bonnie J. Holmes, Lisa C. Pope, Samuel M. Williams, Ian R. Tibbetts, Mike B. Bennett, Jennifer R. Ovenden


Multiple paternity has been documented as a reproductive strategy in both viviparous and ovoviviparous elasmobranchs, leading to the assumption that multiple mating may be ubiquitous in these fishes. However, with the majority of studies conducted on coastal and nearshore elasmobranchs that often form mating aggregations, parallel studies on pelagic, semi-solitary species are lacking. The tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) is a large pelagic shark that has an aplacental viviparous reproductive mode which is unique among the carcharhinids. A total of 112 pups from four pregnant sharks were genotyped at nine microsatellite loci to assess the possibility of multiple paternity or polyandrous behaviour by female tiger sharks. Only a single pup provided evidence of possible multiple paternity, but with only seven of the nine loci amplifying for this individual, results were inconclusive. In summary, it appears that the tiger sharks sampled in this study were genetically monogamous. These findings may have implications for the genetic diversity and future sustainability of this population.

The Royal Society, DOI 10.1098/rsos.171385



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