Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 5, pp 1207–1214 | Cite as

First age and growth estimates in the deep water shark, Etmopterus Spinax (Linnaeus, 1758), by deep coned vertebral analysis

  • Enrico Gennari
  • Umberto Scacco
Research Article


The velvet belly Etmopterus spinax (Linnaeus, 1758) is a deep water bottom-dwelling species very common in the western Mediterranean sea. This species is a portion of the by-catch of the red shrimps and Norway lobsters otter trawl fisheries on the meso and ipo-bathyal grounds. A new, simple, rapid, and inexpensive vertebral preparation method was used on a total of 241 specimens, sampled throughout 2000. Post-cranial portions of vertebral column were removed and vertebrae were prepared for ageing readings. Band pair counts ranged from 0 to 9 in females, and from 0 to 7 in males. Von Bertalanffy growth equations estimated for both sexes suggested a higher longevity for females (males: L  = 394.3 mm k = 0.19 t 0 = −1.41 L 0 = 92.7 mm A 99 = 18.24 years; females: L  = 450 mm k = 0.16 t 0 = −1.09 L 0 = 72 mm A 99 = 21.66 years). Age estimations are discussed in the context of deep water shark species. This is the first successful attempt at delineating faint growth bands in the poorly calcified deep coned vertebrae of E. spinax. This technique may be used in other difficult poorly calcified species.


Percentage Agreement Shark Species Otter Trawl Band Pair Deep Water Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank for their support and help: M. Vacchi, G.D. Ardizzone, G. La Mesa, M. La Mesa, J. Bruner and C. Gubili. We are grateful to L. Natanson for many constructive comments and help, which greatly improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.I.C.R.A.MRomeItaly

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