Age and growth of the bonnethead shark, Sphyrna tiburo, from northwest Florida, with comments on clinal variation
Age and growth rates of the bonnethead shark, Sphyrna tiburo, from northwest Florida were estimated from vertebrae collected between October 1992 and October 1995. The von Bertalanffy growth equation was fit to male and female vertebral age data. Initial growth was rapid (≈ 200 mm TL) for both sexes from age 0–1. At age 2 growth slowed for males but continued for females. Similar to many species of sharks, females grew slower than males (K = 0.28 and K = 0.69, respectively) but attained a larger maximum size (L∞=1226 and L∞=897). Maximum age was estimated in males and females to be 8+ and 12+ years, respectively. Growth of young-of-year sharks was 21 to 30 mm TL per month determined by three different methods. A comparison of age and growth estimates from populations at more southerly latitudes suggest that clinal variation in total length may be evident among bonnethead sharks in the Gulf of Mexico with females reaching larger sizes in northern areas as compared to south Florida.
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