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On the gestation period of the blackfin reef shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus, in waters off Moorea, French Polynesia


Underwater visual and photographic observations, over a four year period, monitored the presence of mating wounds on female blackfin reef shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus. Mating begins in November and continues until the end of March as each female follows her own temporal cycle. Correspondingly, parturition begins in September and continues until January. Each female again mates 1.5–2.5 months after parturition, thus completing an annual reproductive cycle. The gestation period is 286–305 days, with slight individual differences. All resident sharks under observation followed this pattern. Evidence of reproductive events presented by transient females conformed with the pattern of the residents.

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I sincerely thank A.A. Myrberg, Jr. for his encouragement, for locating needed references, and reviewing and advising me on the manuscript. Thanks to J. Castro, R. Galzin, L. Paul, and M. Kazmers for providing references. My husband, F. Porcher, reviewed and provided helpful suggestions on the manuscript. The Centre de Recherches Insulaires et l’Observatoire de l’Environnement, on Moorea, and the Richard Gump South Pacific Research Station, University of California at Berkeley, on Moorea, permitted me access to their libraries. All observations comply with the laws of French Polynesia.

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Correspondence to I. F. Porcher.

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Communicated by G.F. Humphrey, Sydney

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Porcher, I.F. On the gestation period of the blackfin reef shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus, in waters off Moorea, French Polynesia. Marine Biology 146, 1207–1211 (2005).

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  • Reproductive Cycle
  • Mating Season
  • Gestation Period
  • White Shark
  • Annual Reproductive Cycle