Baby sharks are called pups. The facts about shark pups will depend upon the specific species, though there are some facts that remain constant in regards to conception, gestation, birth, survival and development.
A female shark may mate with a male shark in order to produce offspring. In at least three instances with three different shark species, the female has reproduced without ever mating with a male shark. This process of reproduction is known as parthenogenesis, and the offspring of these sharks were healthy and long-lived.
The amount of time the baby sharks are carried inside the mother depends upon the species of shark and the type of birth the mother shark gives. Gestation can last as short as nine months, or as long as 22 months.
Sharks are born in groups of one to 100 and are born in one of three ways. Some sharks lay eggs, while others carry their eggs inside them until it is time for the eggs to hatch. The majority of sharks carry live young in their oviducts and provide nourishment through the pup's umbilical cord.
Shark pups are not cared for by their mothers after their birth. Live-bearing sharks do provide their pups with boosted energy reserves stored in the pups' livers, which serves as a backup during the early weeks of life. The early weeks of a shark pup's life is spent learning to catch prey and avoid predators, which include other sharks.
Eyes are among the first external features that develop fully. Fins develop within the first 53 days. The development of other features depends upon the species, type of birth and water temperature.
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