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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 58(1)

Spatial and seasonal distribution patterns of juvenile and adult raggedtooth sharks (Carcharias taurus) tagged off the east coast of South Africa

M. L. Dicken A D, A. J. Booth A, M. J. Smale B, G. Cliff C

A Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University, PO Box 94, Grahamstown, 6140, South Africa.
B Port Elizabeth Museum, PO Box 13147, Humewood, 6013, South Africa.
C Natal Sharks Board, Private Bag 2, Umhlanga Rocks, 4320, South Africa.
D Corresponding author. Email: raggedtoothshark@bayworld.co.za
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Understanding the movement patterns of raggedtooth sharks (Carcharias taurus) is crucial in defining habitat use and evaluating the effects of exploitation and anthropogenic activities. Between 1984 and 2004, 1107 C. taurus juveniles (<1.8-m TL) and 2369 C. taurus maturing subadults and adults (>1.8-m TL) were tagged and released along the east coast of South Africa. In total, 125 C. taurus juveniles and 178 C. taurus maturing subadults and adults were recaptured, representing recapture rates of 11.2% and 7.5% respectively. The average distance travelled by juvenile sharks was 18.7 km (95% CI = 10.8–26.6 km). Juvenile sharks displayed site fidelity to summer nursery areas. The average distance travelled by maturing and adult sharks was 342 km (95% CI = 275–409 km). One female shark, however, was recaptured 1897 km from its original release site. The average rate at which pregnant sharks moved south from their gestation to pupping grounds was 2.6 km day–1 (95% CI = 2.04–3.16 km day–1). This study highlights the differences in movement patterns between C. taurus juveniles and adults and suggests philopatric behaviour in both life-history stages.

Keywords: life history stages, movement patterns.

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