Research Article

Marine Biology

, Volume 146, Issue 6, pp 1207-1211

First online:

On the gestation period of the blackfin reef shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus, in waters off Moorea, French Polynesia

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Underwater visual and photographic observations, over a four year period, monitored the presence of mating wounds on female blackfin reef shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus. Mating begins in November and continues until the end of March as each female follows her own temporal cycle. Correspondingly, parturition begins in September and continues until January. Each female again mates 1.5–2.5 months after parturition, thus completing an annual reproductive cycle. The gestation period is 286–305 days, with slight individual differences. All resident sharks under observation followed this pattern. Evidence of reproductive events presented by transient females conformed with the pattern of the residents.