Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 161–173

Age, growth and reproductive biology of the silky shark, Carcharhinus falciformis, and the scalloped hammerhead, Sphyrna lewini, from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico

  • Steven Branstetter

DOI: 10.1007/BF00005346

Cite this article as:
Branstetter, S. Environ Biol Fish (1987) 19: 161. doi:10.1007/BF00005346


The silky shark, Carcharhinus falciformis, and scalloped hammerhead, Sphyrna lewini, represent >80% of the shark by-catch of the winter swordfish/tuna longline fishery of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. This catch represents a potential supplemental fishery, yet little is known of the life histories of the two species. This report relates reproductive biology data to age and growth estimates for 135 C. falciformis and 78 S. lewini. Unlike other regional populations, C. falciformis in the Gulf of Mexico may have a seasonal 12 month gestation period. Males mature at 210–220 cm TL (6–7 yr); females at >225 cm TL (7–9 yr). Application of age at length data for combined sexes produced von Bertalanffy growth model parameter estimates of L = 291 cm TL, K = 0.153, t0 = −2.2 yr. Adult male S. lewini outnumbered adult females in catches because of differences in the distributions of the sexually segregated population. Males mature at 180 cm TL (10 yr); females at 250 cm TL (15 yr). von Bertalanffy parameter estimates for combined sexes of this species were L = 329 cm TL, K = 0.073, to = −2.2 yr.


ChondrichthyesElasmobranchsFisheriesAgeing methodsGrowth ratesGestation periodsMaturityVertebral bandsWeight-length relationshipsLife histories

Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Branstetter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife and Fisheries SciencesTexas A& M UniversityCollege StationU.S.A.