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Science Seminar: Contributions of Indigenous, Local and Science knowledge systems toward understanding of White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) mating in Aotearoa/New Zealand
During 70+ interviews with expert Maori, Local and Science knowledge holders during 2015/16 in Aotearoa/NZ (https://www.whitepointer.cloud), numerous undocumented insights were revealed about the behavioural ecology of White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). One of the most intriguing themes emerging from first-hand and traditional (i.e. trans-generational) sources extended well beyond the spartan scientific literature on the mating system in this species. When considered from an ethological perspective, the narrative elements combine to form a new hypothesis of phased White Shark courtship and mating that begins with early migration of juvenile and mature males to seasonally-hyperproductive nearshore feeding grounds (fish/pinniped), where males establish a local dominance hierarchy. Toward the end of hierarchy formation, large reproductively-primed females arrive at the staging area and engage in preliminary mate choice from individuals in the hierarchy. Temporary male-female pairing leads to courtship behaviour (including ritualized feeding behaviour?) en route to suitable mating substrate. Courtship culminates with a brief yet intense encounter, in which the female allows ritualized mouthing, benthic rolling, clasper insertion and intromission – after which the mates immediately disperse from each other. Narrative evidence is presented for each phase of this hypothesis, along with evidence and hypotheses from the published scientific literature.
Seminar presented by Dr. Steve Crawford, Associate Professor at the University of Guelph.
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