Do Sharks Lay Eggs?


Quick Answer

Around 40 percent of the more than 400 species of sharks lay eggs. These eggs may develop fully or partially in the mother, or they may be laid by the mother.

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Full Answer

Sharks that lay eggs are called oviparous species. These sharks lay eggs that hatch outside of the mother's body and have a yolk-sac that nourishes the young shark. Some shark species hold the eggs inside the mother's body for a time before the eggs are laid to allow the eggs to develop more fully so the baby sharks spend less time in an egg. Eggs are laid in egg cases, often called a “mermaid's purse,” that have tendrils that attach the egg case to seaweed or coral, or the cases may be pushed into rock crevices. Some sharks that lay eggs are the carpet shark, bamboo shark and swell shark.

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