A new report on the clasper movements of a captive Sand Tiger Shark Carcharias taurus (Lamniformes: Odontaspididae) and a possible reason for the behaviour

Main Article Content

Helen Colbachini
Rafael Caprioli Gutierrez
Cristiane Schilbach Pizzutto
Otto Bismarck Fazzano Gadig


Elasmobranchs present four clasper movements, which can be seen in different contexts from mating to no obvious reason.  Three movements have been reported in Carcharias taurus and here the first occurrence of clasper flaring in this species is described.  Clasper flaring was observed while other species were in a reproductive state and their aggressive behaviour towards the subject of this study was also observed.

Article Details

Short Communications


Altmann, J. (1974). Observational study of behavior sampling methods. Behaviour 49: 227–267.

Barker, S.M., V.M. Peddemors & J.E. Williamson (2011). A video and photographic study of aggregation swimming and respiratory behavior changes in the Grey Nurse Shark (Carcharias taurus) in response to the presence of SCUBA divers. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 44: 75–92.

Carrier, J.C., H.L. Pratt & L.K. Martin (1994). Group reproductive behaviors in free-living Nurse Sharks, Ginglymostoma cirratum. Copeia 1994: 646–656.

Chapman, D.D., M.J. Corcoran, G.M. Harvey, S. Malan & M.S. Shivji (2003). Mating behavior of southern Stingray, Dasyatis americana (Dasyatidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 68: 241–245.

Compagno, L.J.V. (2001). Sharks of The World: An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Shark Species Known to Date: Bullhead, Mackerel and Carpet Sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). FAO, Rome, 269pp.

Galván-Tirado, C., F. Galván-Magaña & R.I. Ochoa-Báez (2014). Reproductive biology of the Silky Shark Carcharhinus falciformis in the southern Mexican Pacific. Journal of Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 95: 561–567.

Gilbert, P.W. (1984). Biology and behavior of sharks. Endeavour 8: 179–187.

Gilbert, P.W. & G.W. Heath (1972). The clasper-siphon sac mechanism in Squalus acanthias and Mustelus canis. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 42: 97–119.

Gordon, I. (1993). Pre-copulatory behavior of captive Sandtiger Sharks, Carcharias taurus. Environmental Biology of Fishes 38: 159–164.

Hannon, G.E. & A.C. Crook (2004). Observations on the behavior of captive Sand Tiger Sharks, Carcharias taurus (Rafinesque, 1810), Pp. 51–61. In: Drum & Croaker. A Highly Irregular Journal for The Public Aquarist. Special Edition No. 2. Elasmobranch Husbandry Symbosium, 217pp.

Henningsen, A.D., M.J. Smale, I. Gordon, R. Garner, R. Marin-Osorno & N. Kinnunen (2004). Captive breeding and sexual conflict in elasmobranchs. In: Smith, M., D. Warmolts, D. Thoney & R. Hueter (eds.). The Elasmobranch Husbandry Manual: Captive Care of Sharks, Rays and Their Relatives. Ohio Biological Survey Inc., Ohio, 588pp.

Henningsen, A.D., F.L. Murru, L.E.L. Rasmussen, B.R. Whitaker & G.C. Violetta (2008). Serum levels of reproductive steroid hormones in captive Sand Tiger Dharks, Carcharias taurus (Rafinesque), and comments on their relation to sexual conflicts. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry 34: 437–446.

Klimley, A.P. (1980). Observations of courtship and copulation in the Nurse Shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum. Copeia 1980: 878–882.

Lehner, P.N. (1996). Handbook of Ethological Methods. England: Cambridge University Press.

Luer, C.A. & P.W. Gilbert (1985). Mating behavior, egg deposition, incubation period, and hatching in the clearnose skate, Raja eglanteria. Environmental Biology of Fishes 13: 161–171.

Martin, R.A. (2007). A review of shark agonistic displays: comparison of display features and implications for shark-human interactions. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 40: 3–34.

McKibben, J.N. & D.R. Nelson (1986). Patterns of movement and grouping of Gray Reef Sharks, Carcharhinus amblyrhinchos, at Enewetak, Marshall Islands. Bulletin of Marine Science 38: 89–110.

Mohan, P.J. & A. Aiken (2004). Water quality and life support systems for large elasmobranch exhibits. In: Smith, M., D. Warmolts, D. Thoney & R. Hueter (eds.). The Elasmobranch Husbandry Manual: Captive Care of Sharks, Rays and Their Relatives. Ohio Biological Survey Inc., Ohio, 588pp.

Myrberg, A.A., & S.H. Gruber (1974). The behavior of the Bonnethead Shark, Sphyrna tiburo. Copeia 1974: 358–374.

Powell, D.C., M. Wisner & J. Rupp (2004). Design and construction of exhibits for elasmobranchs. In: Smith, M., D. Warmolts, D. Thoney & R. Hueter (eds.). The Elasmobranch Husbandry Manual: Captive Care of Sharks, Rays and Their Relatives. Ohio Biological Survey Inc., Ohio, 588pp.

Pratt Jr, H.L. & J.C. Carrier (2001). A review of elasmobranch reproductive behavior with a case study on the Nurse Shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum. Environmental Biology of Fishes 60: 157–188.

Ritter, E.K. & L.V.J. Compagno (2013). Clasper flaring: maintenance behavior, or a Normally Hidden Feature of Male Whitetip Reef Sharks, Triaenodon Obesus? The Open Fish Science Journal 6: 10–12.

Tricas, T.C. (1980). Courtship and mating-related behaviors in Myliobatid rays. Copeia 1980: 553–556.

Uchida, S., M. Toda & Y. Kamei (1990). Reproduction of elasmobranchs in captivity. In: Pratt Jr, H.L., S.H. Gruber & T. Taniuchi (eds.). Elasmobranchs as Living Resources: Advances in The Biology, Ecology, Systematics, and The Status of The Fisheries. NOAA Technical Report NMFS 90, Washington DC, 518pp.

Yano, K., F. Sato & T. Takashi (1999). Observations of mating behavior of the Manta Ray, Manta birostris, at the Ogasawara Islands, Japan. Ichthyological Research 46: 289–296.

Most read articles by the same author(s)