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A study into the sexual dimorphisms of the Ampullae of Lorenzini in the lesser-spotted catshark, Scyliorhinus canicula (Linnaeus, 1758)

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Abstract

The Ampullae of Lorenzini can vary in their size, shape and distribution patterns among elasmobranch species. However, no study has compared the ampullary characteristics between the sexes within a species. The present study found a sexual dimorphism in the Ampullae of Lorenzini of the lesser-spotted catshark, Scyliorhinus canicula. Male S. canicula were found to possess longer ampullae and alveoli, greater numbers of alveolar bulbs, larger sensory epithelial surface areas and greater numbers of sensory receptor cells in the ampullae than female S. canicula. Greater lengths of both ampullae and alveoli, numbers of alveoli, larger sensory epithelial surface areas and greater numbers of sensory receptor cells in male S. canicula could increase the capability of adult male S. canicula in detecting females. The presence of the sexual dimorphism in the alveoli of the Ampullae of Lorenzini could be directly related to reproductive behaviour and/or reflect the sexual segregation patterns of adult S. canicula.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Marcus Nash, Samantha Hewitt and Adan Morales for their help with the preparation and processing of samples used in the research and Paul Farrell with help in animal collection. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their very constructive suggestions.

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Correspondence to Neil Crooks.

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Crooks, N., Waring, C.P. A study into the sexual dimorphisms of the Ampullae of Lorenzini in the lesser-spotted catshark, Scyliorhinus canicula (Linnaeus, 1758). Environ Biol Fish 96, 585–590 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-012-0048-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-012-0048-8

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