Reproductive seasonality and embryo development in the draughtboard shark Cephaloscyllium laticeps
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The draughtboard shark Cephaloscyllium laticeps is a common oviparous catshark found in Australia. Studies on the reproductive seasonality of catsharks and the reproductive endocrinology of oviparous elasmobranchs are limited to a few species. The aim of the present study was to investigate the reproductive seasonality and embryo development of C. laticeps using morphological and endocrine parameters. Macroscopic examinations of the reproductive system and embryo stages were recorded. The steroid hormones 17߭ oestradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) were measured in females, and testosterone (T) in both sexes. Females laid eggs throughout the year, but with a peak in egg deposition between January and June. Female T levels were higher in the middle of the year. Elevated P4 values coincided with the period of egg deposition, whereas E2 was depressed in the middle of the egg deposition stage. Females laid eggs in the absence of males for 15 months, and eggs were laid in pairs at monthly intervals. Hatching occurred after 12 months. Variability in gonadosomatic index, percentage of sperm in seminal vesicles, and plasma T levels for males indicated that males were reproductively active throughout the year.
Marine and Freshwater Research