Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 100, Issue 7, pp 785–795 | Cite as

Aspects of the reproductive biology of the data-deficient Mustelus minicanis and M. norrisi (Chondrichthyes: Triakidae) in the southern Caribbean Sea

  • Alejandro Tagliafico
  • Néstor Rago
  • Salomé Rangel
  • Matt K. Broadhurst


Reproduction and maturation in the economically important, but data-deficient, Mustelus minicanis and M. norrisi were analysed using catches of populations exploited by a gillnet fishery during two years in the southern Caribbean Sea. In total, 691 female (mean ± SD total length–TL of 55.3 ± 5.8 cm) and 503 male (50.4 ± 4.9 cm TL) M. minicanis were assessed, with ~95% of all specimens deemed mature. Almost 25% of females were gravid (occurring between January and October) and with variable temporal development of up to six embryos (3.3 ± 1.2), implying protracted temporal parturition. Parity in the sex ratio of embryos, but not in landed catches, suggested sexual segregation across the fished area. The 50% sizes at maturity (M 50) (± SE) were similarly estimated at 45.11 (± 0.39) and 45.48 (± 0.42) cm TL for females and males, respectively. Relatively fewer (235) M. norrisi were landed, with samples comprising 150 females (82.6 ± 18.1 cm TL) and 85 males (75.5 ± 17.7 cm TL). More than 30% of both sexes were immature. Ten percent of females were gravid (up to 11 embryos) and present in catches between October and February, coinciding with the northern hemisphere autumn/winter. Female and male M 50s were 76.65 (± 1.16) and 69.63 (± 1.92) cm TL, respectively. The results imply variable inter-specific reproductive plasticity and the need for further life-history studies. Increasing gillnet selectivity might represent a simple precautionary management option for concurrently regulating catches of the smaller-bodied M. minicanis during peak abundances of gravid females and similar-sized juvenile M. norrisi.


Artisanal fishery Dwarf smooth-hound Elasmobranchs Ground shark Hound-sharks Narrow-fin smooth-hound 



We thank the fishers and fish retailers from La Pared, Juan Griego, Los Cocos and Conejeros for their kind cooperation in allowing us to measure the specimens. We also acknowledge the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agrícolas (INIA) and A. Lárez for helpful logistical assistance. M. Barany, L. Zambrano, N. Ehemann and M. Harris provided further assistance in taxonomical identification of the specimens. E. Ron is thanked for receiving the specimens at the ichthyology collection of the Universidad de Oriente. Anonymous reviewers greatly improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alejandro Tagliafico
    • 1
    • 2
  • Néstor Rago
    • 3
  • Salomé Rangel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Matt K. Broadhurst
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Escuela de Ciencias Aplicadas del Mar, Núcleo de Nueva EspartaUniversidad de OrienteIsla de MargaritaVenezuela
  2. 2.National Marine Science CentreSouthern Cross UniversityNSWAustralia
  3. 3.Universidad Nacional de Costa RicaHerediaCosta Rica
  4. 4.NSW Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries Conservation Technology UnitCoffs HarbourAustralia
  5. 5.Marine and Estuarine Ecology Unit, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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