The tiger shark is the only species of the Carcharhinidae family that is lecithotrophic viviparous, giving birth to 26-33 live young in a protective nursery after a gestation of 13-16 months.
The tiger shark is the only species of the family Carcharhinidae that is lecithotrophic viviparous, giving birth to live young. Female tiger sharks typically give birth in a nursery, which provides protection during the birthing process and continues to protect the young directly after birth in the absence of parents.
Gestation is approximately 13-16 months with a triennial reproductive cycle in Hawaii and Australia.
Embryos of tiger sharks are fertilized internally and a yolk sac forms around them to provide necessary nutrients during the gestation period. As the yolk begins to run out near the end of the gestation, the embryo draws nutrients directly from the mother.
Litter sizes are relatively large, ranging from 10-82 pups. With a maximum of 82 embryos recorded, an average tiger shark litter consists of 26-33 pups. Many of these pups will not survive to adulthood.
• Image | ©️ Vic DeLeon, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
• Sources | (Cressey & Lachner, 1970; Draper, 2011; Driggers III, et al., 2008; Ferreira & Simpfendorfer, 2019; Holmes, 2015; Pratt, Jr., 1988; Randall, 1992; Simpfendorfer 1992; Tang & Newbound, 2004; Whitney & Crow, 2007)