Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Reproductive seasonality and embryo development in the draughtboard shark Cephaloscyllium laticeps

C. A. Awruch A E F , N. W. Pankhurst B , S. D. Frusher C and J. D. Stevens D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Aquaculture, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tas. 7250, Australia.

B Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Qld 4222, Australia.

C Marine Research Laboratories, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tas. 7053, Australia.

D CSIRO, Marine and Atmospheric Research, Castray Esplanade, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.

E Present address: Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, School of Earth and Environmental Science, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: cynthia.awruch@jcu.edu.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 60(12) 1265-1272 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF09030
Submitted: 11 February 2009  Accepted: 2 May 2009   Published: 17 December 2009

Abstract

The draughtboard shark Cephaloscyllium laticeps is a common oviparous catshark found in Australia. Studies on the reproductive seasonality of catsharks and the reproductive endocrinology of oviparous elasmobranchs are limited to a few species. The aim of the present study was to investigate the reproductive seasonality and embryo development of C. laticeps using morphological and endocrine parameters. Macroscopic examinations of the reproductive system and embryo stages were recorded. The steroid hormones 17β- oestradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) were measured in females, and testosterone (T) in both sexes. Females laid eggs throughout the year, but with a peak in egg deposition between January and June. Female T levels were higher in the middle of the year. Elevated P4 values coincided with the period of egg deposition, whereas E2 was depressed in the middle of the egg deposition stage. Females laid eggs in the absence of males for 15 months, and eggs were laid in pairs at monthly intervals. Hatching occurred after 12 months. Variability in gonadosomatic index, percentage of sperm in seminal vesicles, and plasma T levels for males indicated that males were reproductively active throughout the year.

Additional keywords: reproductive cycle, reproductive hormones, Scyliorhinidae, swell shark.


Acknowledgements

We thank Neville Perryman and Bryan Hughes for providing samples, and Shane Fava and Craig Mackinon for assistance with fieldwork. Three anonymous reviewers provided constructive comments. This research operated under University of Tasmania Animal Care and Ethics Committee research approval A0007219.


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