acta ethologica

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 9–16 | Cite as

Mating scars among sharks: evidence of coercive mating?

  • Erich K. RitterEmail author
  • Raid W. Amin
Original Paper


On rare occasions, during mating season among sharks, ‘mating scars’ appear on female sharks’ bodies caused by the males holding onto them. The low frequency of sharks bearing such scars indicates that those markers are not part of regular mating efforts. These scars are mostly deeper cuts and punctures, indicating a more forceful motivation such as coercive mating from the male’s side. We discuss scenarios based on mating scars from three Carcharhinid species, describe and explain the arrangement of these bite scars, and consider plausible mating strategies used by males, including coercive mating.


Coercive mating Behavior Gill Scars Shark 


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Copyright information

© ISPA, CRL 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of West FloridaPensacolaUSA
  2. 2.Shark Research InstitutePrincetonUSA

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