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September 13, 2004

Rough Sex, Mako-Style?

This 632-pound mako, taken aboard the charter boat Venture, is the largest caught out of Montauk in the past seven years. The large bite mark on her side measured 15 inches wide by 18 inches high. Three days later, a 460-pound male mako with the exact same jaw size was landed. Is it possible that these two were mates and engaged in "rough sex" before they were caught?

Q: This 632-pound mako, taken aboard the charter boat Venture, is the largest caught out of Montauk in the past seven years. The large bite mark on her side measured 15 inches wide by 18 inches high. Three days later, a 460-pound male mako with the exact same jaw size was landed. Is it possible that these two were mates and engaged in "rough sex" before they were caught? -- Capt. Bryan J. LoTufo, Montauk, New Jersey

A: Several species of sharks are known for the tendency of males to grab females during the mating event to hold them in place. I do know that blue sharks do this quite often. Thus, it's possible that this bite mark happened during mating. However, it is also possible that this wound was incurred during feeding. Hard to tell which scenario is most plausible, but the location of the wound at the midsection infers to me that it might have been sustained during feeding. -- Eric Prince