New mode of oviparous reproduction in sharks

Published on
23. July 2020

Discovery of a new mode of oviparous reproduction in sharks and its evolutionary implications

Nakaya, K., White, W.T. & Ho, H.


Two modes of oviparity are known in cartilaginous fishes, (1) single oviparity where one egg case is retained in an oviduct for a short period and then deposited, quickly followed by another egg case, and (2) multiple oviparity where multiple egg cases are retained in an oviduct for a substantial period and deposited later when the embryo has developed to a large size in each case. Sarawak swellshark Cephaloscyllium sarawakensis of the family Scyliorhinidae from the South China Sea performs a new mode of oviparity, which is named “sustained single oviparity”, characterized by a lengthy retention of a single egg case in an oviduct until the embryo attains a sizable length. The resulting fecundity of the Sarawak swellshark within a season is quite low, but this disadvantage is balanced by smaller body, larger neonates and quicker maturation. The Sarawak swellshark is further uniquely characterized by having glassy transparent egg cases, and this is correlated with a vivid polka-dot pattern of the embryos. Five modes of lecithotrophic (yolk-dependent) reproduction, i.e. short single oviparity, sustained single oviparity, multiple oviparity, yolk-sac viviparity of single pregnancy and yolk-sac viviparity of multiple pregnancy were discussed from an evolutionary point of view.

Sci Rep 10, 12280 (2020), DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-68923-1


Leave a Reply