Reproductive biology of the guitarfish Rhinobatos hynnicephalus (Batoidea: Rhinobatidae) in Ariake Bay, Japan

  • Gen KumeEmail author
  • Keisuke Furumitsu
  • Shinya Tanaka
  • Atsuko Yamaguchi


Size at sexual maturity, reproductive cycle, and fecundity of the guitarfish, Rhinobatos hynnicephalus, were examined in Ariake Bay, Japan. Females reached sexual maturity at a larger size than males [total length (TL) at 50% sexual maturity: males, 431 mm; females, 476 mm]. Monthly gonadosomatic indices of males decreased abruptly from July to August. Histological examinations confirmed the presence of mature spermatozoa in the testes in July, with semen in seminal vesicles in July and August. Preovulatory ova were observed in females with near-term embryos in August. Parturition occurred in August, immediately followed by mating, ovulation, and fertilization. Gestation period is approximately 1 year. Fertilized uterine eggs without embryonic development were present throughout the annual reproductive cycle. Embryonic development began in June and ended in August, indicating that R. hynnicephalus undergoes embryonic diapause (9 months). Fecundity increased with TL and ranged from 1 to 9 (mean, 4.4) embryos per litter.


Rhinobatos hynnicephalus Sexual maturity Reproductive cycle Embryonic diapause Fecundity Ariake Bay 



We sincerely thank Seinosuke Yoshida and the commercial fishermen of the Shimabara Fisheries Cooperative Association. We also thank two anonymous referees for their critical comments. This study was financially supported by the Japan Science and Technology (JST) Corporation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gen Kume
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Keisuke Furumitsu
    • 3
  • Shinya Tanaka
    • 3
  • Atsuko Yamaguchi
    • 2
  1. 1.Landcare ResearchLincolnNew Zealand
  2. 2.Faculty of FisheriesNagasaki UniversityNagasakiJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Science and TechnologyNagasaki UniversityNagasakiJapan

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