What IS intrauterine cannibalism? -Jorge
Great question! There are actually two kinds: The most extreme form of intrauterine cannibalism —"embryophagy" or "adelphophagy," where the strongest sharks eat the weaker womb mates… yup, literally eating their siblings. In 1948, a researcher was bit on the hand while examining a dead sand tiger shark. So far, the sand tiger shark is the only species to show this sort of intrauterine cannibalism. The other sort of intrauterine cannibalism is “oophagy,” where developing embryos eat unfertilized eggs to gain strength and nutrients. This form of cannibalism is more common throughout sharks. This leads to newborn shark pups having swollen bellies full of yolky-nutrition.
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Thanks for your questions, everyone!
Keep asking away and tune in to the next Sharky Sunday!