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Israel Journal of Zoology
  Issue:  Volume 49, Number 4 / 2003
  Pages:  269 - 286
  URL:  Linking Options

DISTRIBUTION AND REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY OF THE SPINNER SHARK, CARCHARHINUS BREVIPINNA (MÜLLER AND HENLE, 1841) (CHONDRICHTHYES: CARCHARHINIDAE)

CHRISTIAN CAPAPÉ A1, FARID HEMIDA A2, AMADOU ABDOULAYE SECK A3, YOUSSOUPH DIATTA A4, c YOUSSOUPH DIATTA A4, JEANNE ZAOUALI A6

A1 Laboratoire d'Ichtyologie, Université Montpellier II, Sciences et Techniques du, Languedoc, Montpellier cedex 05, France
A2 Laboratoire Halieutique, Institut des Sciences de la Nature, Université des Sciences et Techniques Houari Boumedienne; B.P. 32, El Alia, 16111 Bab Ezzouar, Alger, Algérie
A3 Musée de la Mer, Institut Fondamental d'Afrique noire Cheikh Anta Diop, Gorée, Sénégal
A4 Département de Biologie Animale, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Université, Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, B.P. 5005, Dakar, Sénégal
A5 Laboratoire d'Ichtyologie, Université Montpellier II, Sciences et Techniques du, Languedoc, Montpellier cedex 05, France
A6 14, rue Virgile, 2025, Salammbô, Tunisie

Abstract:

The spinner shark, Carcharhinus brevipinna, is a Lessepsian immigrant formerly common in the Gulf of Gabès (southeastern Tunisia, central Mediterranean). It migrated northward into the Gulf of Tunis as a consequence of competition pressure from its sympatric species, the sandbar shark, C. plumbeus. Adult males and females reach over 1720 mm and 1960 mm total length (TL), respectively. The largest known male and female are 2630 mm and 2750 mm TL, respectively. There is no significant relationship of mass versus TL between males and females. C. brevipinna is a placental viviparous elasmobranch. Adult females have a single functional ovary and two functional uteri, in which encapsulated eggs and embryos are equally distributed. Mating occurs in spring or early summer; parturition, in August. Gestation lasts 13-14 months or longer, and there is a seasonal reproductive cycle. Vitellogenesis proceeds in parallel with gestation. Diameter of the largest yellow-yolked oocytes ranges from 31 to 36 mm (33.3 mm ± 1.4); and weight from 9.1 to 9.9 g (9.5 g ± 1.6). The placenta is definitively established after the embryos reach 185 mm TL. Both uteri are compartmentalized in chambers, and a single embryo develops in each chamber. Size at birth and mass at birth, based on fully developed fetuses and the smallest free-swimming specimens (neonates) are 610-690 mm TL and 1060-1850 g, respectively. A chemical balance of development based on mean dry masses of the largest yellow-yolked oocytes and the fully developed embryos is 65.8. This is the highest value ever computed in a viviparous elasmobranch, indicating that C. brevipinna is a matrotrophic species. Ovarian fecundity is higher than uterine fecundity. There is no significant relationship between the two categories of fecundity and female TL. Litter size ranges from 6 to 10. The sex ratio of embryos is 1:1. Male neonates are significantly more numerous than female, in contrast with juveniles and adults. The relative abundance of pregnant females and neonates suggests that the Tunisian coasts could be considered a nursery area for the spinner shark.


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