Male mate choice in the spot-tail shark Carcharhinus sorrah: are males choosy or opportunistic?
Male mate choice has been documented in different taxa including insects, lizards, fish, birds and mammals. However, in sharks, male mate choice is not clearly reported but field observations suggest that it is probable. In this study, I tested for evidence of male mating preference of the spot-tail shark Carcharhinus sorrah towards three female traits that are typically associated with female fecundity, these are: (1) body size, (2) parasite burden, and (3) mean heterozygosity. I collected data on heterozygosity, age, length and parasite burden of 73 litters of C. sorrah females. I found no association between male mating preference and any of the selected female traits. A possible interpretation is that, given the polygamous mating system of sharks and consequent likelihood of sperm competition, C. sorrah males focus primarily on obtaining fertilization, rather than adjusting their behavior according to potential fitness differences between females. Future research is needed to gain better understanding on the reproductive behavior and social dynamics of C. sorrah to benefit conservation efforts that are needed to effectively manage C. sorrah.