Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 219–232 | Cite as

The biology of the finetooth shark,Carcharhinus isodon

  • José I. Castro


The finetooth shark inhabits shallow coastal waters of the western Atlantic from North Carolina to Brazil. It is common off the southeastern United States, where it spends the summer off Georgia and the Carolinas and winters off Florida. The species appears in the nursery and mating areas of South Carolina when the surface water temperature rises above 20° C in late April and early May. Both adults and juveniles are common in the shallow coastal waters of South Carolina through the summer, where they feed primarily on menhaden. The finetooth shark leaves the Carolinas in early fall and migrates southward as the surface water temperature decreases below 20° C. Females reach maturity at about 1350 mm TL. Males mature at about 1300 mm TL. The finetooth shark has consecutive, year-long ovarian and gestation cycles, like most carcharhinid sharks. Mating occurs from early May to early June. Freshly mated females bear a large spermozeugma at the base of each uterus. The spermozeugmata are large almond shaped masses of individual spermatozoa embedded in a supporting matrix. Embryos are lecithotrophic during their first fifteen weeks of development. Subsequently, the embryos establish a placental connection to the mother. Implantation occurs when the embryos measure about 130 mm or at about the fifteenth week of gestation. Gravid females carrying young 480–550 mm TL enter the shallow water nurseries off South Carolina in late May. Parturition occurs from late May to mid-June, after a gestation period of about twelve months, plus or minus two weeks. The young measure 480–580 mm TL at birth. Oocytes grow little during the gestation cycle. After parturition, a cohort of oocytes begins to develop, that will be ovulated the following May. Thus, the ovarian cycle lasts about a year, although most of the oocyte growth occurs in the months just prior to ovulation.

Key words

Range Nurseries Fertilization Migrations Feeding Elasmobranchs 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • José I. Castro
    • 1
  1. 1.NOAA/NMFS, Southeast Fisheries CenterMiamiU.S.A.

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