Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 38, Issue 1–3, pp 25–35 | Cite as

Geographic variation in reproduction between two populations of the bonnethead shark,Sphyrna tiburo

  • Glenn R. Parsons


A study of two populations of the bonnethead shark,Sphyrna tiburo was conducted in Florida Bay and Tampa Bay, Florida from September 1982 to December 1986. The maintenance of sharks in captivity at the Marine Science and Conservation Center in the Florida Keys, and the collection of sharks from widely separated geographical areas allowed the examination of latitudinal variation in reproduction. Several reproductive parameters were found to differ: (1) size at maturation, (2) age at maturation, (3) time of fertilization, (4) rate of embryonic development, (5) size at birth, (6) the energetic investment in producing offspring, (7) gestation period, and (8) the incidence of infertility. Average litter size and maximum age of females was not different between the two populations. These contrasting life history parameters are not easily explained. Food limitation and seasonal differences between the two areas are considered as factors controlling reproduction in these populations. It is noteworthy that the average size of adult females in Tampa Bay is significantly greater than that of Florida Keys sharks. This size difference may be important in explaining the observed differences in reproduction.

Key words

Maturation Growth and development Mating season Energetics of reproduction Size distributions Elasmobranchs 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn R. Parsons
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine ScienceUniversity of South FloridaSt. PetersburgU.S.A.

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