RESEARCH ARTICLE


Clasper Flaring: Maintenance Behavior, or a Normally Hidden Feature of Male Whitetip Reef Sharks, Triaenodon Obesus?



EK Ritter1, *, LVJ Compagno2
1 Shark Resarch Institute, Florida Office 5970 Osprey Place, Pensacola, FL 32504, USA
2 Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa


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© 2013 Ritter and Compagno.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Shark Resarch Institute, Florida Office 5970 Osprey Place, Pensacola, FL 32504, USA; Tel: ++ 1 786 301 3310; Facsimile: ++ 1 850 473 1294; E-mail: erichritter@att.net


Abstract

Male whitetip reef sharks, Triaenodon obsesus, are able to pivot their claspers beyond regular flexing, including spreading their distal tips in a funnel like fashion. The feature of this extended clasper flexing, labelled clasper flaring, is described here. It is speculated to possibly reflect a pre- or post-copulation-related behavior.

Keywords: Clasper, copulation, flexing, shark, Triaenodon obsesus.