hasn’t been much research conducted in regards to shark reproduction but a great deal is know about the
The conception generally takes place privately in the waters of the ocean. In captivity very few sharks actually
will mate so it can’t be observed that way.
One of the main differences between sharks and other animals is that the males has claspers that they use to get
the sperm into the females. There is one on each side of the body and they alternate which side to use. Some people
have mistaken these claspers for penises which is where they theory that male sharks have two penises comes
The females emit various types of chemicals into the water during mating season. Since they are normally living
apart from males, these chemicals attract them together.
The males often let the females know they are interested in mating by biting them in various places. Some
researchers believe these bite marks take place during conception too in order to help keep the two sharks entwined
for the process to be completed. The females aren’t harmed by this biting though. In fact, they have thicker skins
and it is believed this is one of the reasons for it.
There are three ways in which sharks reproduce and give birth to new pups.
Giving Birth to Live Sharks (Viviparity)
There are species of sharks that give birth to live sharks called pups. They only have a few at a time and they
abandon them after delivery. Baby sharks instinctively know how to survive immediately. The mother shark goes on
about her business without giving them a second thought. Shark mothers do not take care of their young.
Laying Eggs (Oviparity)
Other species of sharks will lay eggs in a well hidden area. The eggs are in a protective case that makes it
difficult for predators to get to them even if they do find them. Since sharks don’t have very many enemies even
the little ones are often able to survive at a very high rate.
Eggs develop inside the Mother (Ovoviviparity)
Most sharks use this method of reproduction. The eggs hatch inside the mother and they continue to be nourished by
the yolk of the egg and some fluids from the mother. The young born alive and fully functional.
Some species practice a form of cannibalism known as oophagy, which means that they will eat the remaining eggs
that have not hatched in order to grow and survive.
There have been cases where female sharks in captivity have had no contact with a male but become pregnant. This
means that asexual reproduction is a possibility with some type of sharks. This could be a significant reason why
they have been able to evolve so easily and to continue with high population numbers.
However, it is believed that asexual reproduction doesn’t take place too often in the natural environment. This
is due to an abundance of both males and females out there to successfully mate with. Asexual reproduction helps
build defenses against threats to the species.
Shark Reproduction for survival
Sharks have always seemed to be able to reproduce at high enough numbers that no intervention is needed. Yet there
is concern about the number of them dropping in their natural environment. Sharks have become quite a commodity and
that has many animal activists concerned.
Some species of sharks have been placed in captivity to try to help their numbers increase again. Yet they seem
to have a difficult time for the most part adapting to being in captivity. Even when the environment is designed to
significantly resemble their natural locations they can tell the difference. As a result it can hamper their
Sharks can live around 25 years in captivity.