Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 159-164

First online:

Pre-copulatory behaviour of captive sandtiger sharks,Carcharias taurus

  • Ian GordonAffiliated withOceanworld Manly

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Three bouts of pre-copulatory behaviour were observed in a captive colony of sandtiger sharks,Carcharias taurus, at Oceanworld Manly, Sydney, Australia. The behaviour occurred 14 rather than 12 months apart. Temperature was very similar to that of local coastal conditions where these animals naturally occur. But the photoperiod was artificial and inflexible. The information recorded in all of these cases was almost identical, giving an insight into a very complex social structure in this essentially colonial animal. Dominance displays occurred between both mature and immature males in addition to aggression towards other objects, e.g. small carcharbinid sharks. Most interesting were the interactions between the males and females, especially those which implicate the possible use of chemical stimulants (pheromones). Copulation was observed on two occasions but was not filmed.

Key words

Dominance Cloaca Pheromone Tailing Snapping Stalking Submitting Clasper flection Splaying Shielding Scarring