As a vital part of the marine life cycle, sharks are responsible for ensuring the health of the oceans. Keeping a balance with competitors, they help ensure the diversity of species by removing weak and sick organisms. With that being said, sharks are being attacked in huge numbers every year for various purposes, and it’s a huge concern for us all.
Aside from maintaining the health of blue oceans, sharks are important elements in the thriving ecotourism industry and as well as boosting the local economies. As a result of a shark’s disappearance, a chain reaction can be set off throughout the ocean and on land. In this regard, we can learn about sharks’ reproductive system and whether or not they need to mate?
Before we discuss whether sharks have to mate or not, do check out are shark mammals, or do they lay eggs? The information will surely help you understand the shark’s reproductive method.
Sharks are widespread in the oceans around the world, and the majority of them give birth to live young, although a few species lay eggs. The details of which can be read here.
There should be no confusion about the fact that sharks have internal fertilization and so can lay eggs or give birth to their babies directly, but for this, they must first mate. Furthermore, in sharks, males and females are segregated, and they only mate during their breeding season.
Are you able to identify between a male shark and a female shark? If not, find out below the difference and how you will recognize the species.
When you look at the sharks, female sharks tend to be a bit greater in size as compared to male sharks. Additionally, females have ovary-like organs that produce eggs. These organs also secrete hormones that control the development of female characteristics.
Male sharks are easy to identify since they have a pair of claspers which are also used for mating. Under their body, it’s like an extra set of fins.
How are sharks attracted to each other?
Around the age of 15 years, sharks reach maturity enough for mating. When they reach this age, they both become attracted to the opposite sex. As a result of this process, an adult male and female shark are able to physically interact with each other so that the male is able to transfer his genetic material to the female, where her eggs can be fertilized.
As said earlier, mating is done during the breeding season and when females are ready to mate. At this time, a female releases a chemical signal known as pheromones, which are then detected by the male. Using their lateral line, sharks are also able to detect electric fields and know where their potential mates are.
Sharks have a highly developed electro-sensory system and pressure receptors for the reception of pressure, so there should be no doubt about their capabilities. If you’ve been believing in a lie for the past few decades that sharks are blind or dead, you’re probably being misled.
You might be surprised to know that with the help of their eyes, they can detect where and how they should grab and copulate their partners. Besides, during their foreplay activities, Sharks are able to sense distant touch due to the nerve endings under their skin. This sense of touch aids them in seducing one another and preparing to mate.
How do sharks mate?
The above section discusses how sharks attract each other and are involved in foreplay, but how do they mate? Isn’t it difficult given the circumstances of an aquatic environment? Well, for marine life, it’s not.
For internal fertilization to take place, the male and female sharks must come together physically.
During the courtship ritual, both sexes will touch each other using the lateral and ventral skin surfaces of their bodies. Following this, the male shark tries to internally fertilize the female’s eggs by engaging in complex behavior.
To get into a position to mate, the male usually bites a female’s back, flanks, and pectoral fins or the surrounding area and then inserts claspers into the female’s cloaca.
Male sharks generally insert one clasper; however, they can do both at the same time. As soon as the claspers are inserted, the male will expel sperm along with seawater into the female’s body, and the eggs will be fertilized within the female. That is how mating is done between the sharks.
How often do sharks mate?
When it comes to how often the sharks mate, it’s different for both sex. Females typically reproduce once every two or three years. Whereas males are ready each year to mate with any female shark, they get.
During the current breeding season, a single male shark can mate with many females. On the other hand, it is also possible for a female to mate with many males in the same season, which increases her chances of conceiving and fertilizing.
Not only do fishers remain interested in shark reproduction, but so do people concerned about ocean health. While sharks do mate, they rarely become visible when mating as they do so in murky or deep waters situated near the ocean bed. The mating and the reproduction process are different in fishes; thus, this article summarizes the mating process between sharks so that you know how it is all done.