Parthenogenesis in a large-bodied requiem shark, the blacktip Carcharhinus limbatus

Authors

  • D. D. Chapman,

    Corresponding author
    1. * Pew Institute for Ocean Science, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Cswy, Miami, FL 33149, U.S.A., Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, U.S.A. and § Guy Harvey Research Institute, Oceanographic Center, Nova Southeastern University, 8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, FL 33004, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • B. Firchau,

    1. * Pew Institute for Ocean Science, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Cswy, Miami, FL 33149, U.S.A., Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, U.S.A. and § Guy Harvey Research Institute, Oceanographic Center, Nova Southeastern University, 8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, FL 33004, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. S. Shivji

    1. * Pew Institute for Ocean Science, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Cswy, Miami, FL 33149, U.S.A., Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, U.S.A. and § Guy Harvey Research Institute, Oceanographic Center, Nova Southeastern University, 8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, FL 33004, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author

†Tel.: +1 305 421 4908; fax: +1 305 421 4077; email: dchapman@rsmas.miami.edu

Abstract

Genetic evidence is provided for parthenogenesis in a large-bodied shark, the blacktip Carcharhinus limbatus, from the speciose and commercially important family Carcharhinidae, the first verified case of asexual development in this lineage and only the second for any chondrichthyan. The parthenogenetic embryo exhibited elevated homozygosity relative to its mother, indicating that automictic parthenogenesis is the most likely mechanism. Although this finding shows that parthenogenesis is more common and widespread in sharks than previously realized and supports the early existence of parthenogenetic abilities in vertebrates, the adaptive significance of automixis in these ancient fishes remains unclear.

Ancillary