Summary: 2001 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Copeia, 2001(3), pp. 781786
Multiple Paternity of a Lemon Shark Litter
KEVIN A. FELDHEIM, SAMUEL H. GRUBER, AND MARY V. ASHLEY
Despite the importance of sharks to marine ecosystems as top predators and
growing concern over the conservation status of many shark species, surprisingly
little is known about many aspects of their reproduction patterns and life history.
Better knowledge of breeding biology and reproductive parameters will be impor-
tant for designing appropriate management plans to protect dwindling populations
of sharks. Here, we report new information regarding the mating system and repro-
ductive cycle of a large coastal shark, the lemon shark Negaprion brevirostris, revealed
through field observations and genetic analyses of an adult female and her off-
spring. Our findings demonstrate that this female exhibited philopatry to a nursery
ground in Bimini, Bahamas, where she returned to give birth in both 1996 and 1998.
Genetic analyses using DNA microsatellite loci developed for lemon sharks provided
the first demonstration of polygamous mating and multiple paternity in a carchar-
hinid shark; at least three males had sired the litter she delivered in 1998.
RELATIVELY little information is available
on breeding behavior, demographics, or