Leopard sharks

Source: burgerszoo.eu, photo: Martin Holst Friborg Pedersen
Burgers' Zoo has scored a global first! Sperm was harvested from a male leopard shark and introduced into a female leopard shark, after which both sharks were returned to their aquarium and swam on as if nothing had happened.
The leopard sharks had been together for a number of years and had been observed trying to mate several times. The eggs laid each time, however, turned out to be unfertilised, so the artificial insemination was performed to give nature a helping hand. Though the veterinarian and team from Burgers’ Ocean have a great deal of experience catching, weighing and measuring the leopard sharks, sperm had never before been harvested in this species.

The male was first moved from the aquarium to a small tank, laying it upside-down to keep it calm. Oxygen-rich water was sprayed along its gills, which allowed it to continue to breathe independently. The shark’s sperm was quickly harvested and seen to demonstrate good activity. After the male was released into the aquarium, the female was caught and inseminated, then also returned to the aquarium. Now the team just waits and watches carefully to see if the insemination was successful. When eggs are found in the aquarium, they will be removed and inspected. If they are fertilised, the eggs will be allowed to hatch, undisturbed, behind the scenes, and the young leopard sharks reared.
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