Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures


Reproductive Periodicity of the Pelagic Stingray, Pteroplatytrygon violacea, in the Western North Atlantic Ocean

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Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Providence, Rhode Island, July 7-11, 2010

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The pelagic stingray is a moderately sized stingray in the Family Dasyatidae and is the only dasyatid that lives in epipelagic waters. Our current knowledge on the reproductive cycle of the pelagic stingray is limited. It is believed that the pelagic stingray reaches sexual maturity at two years in both sexes, with a gestation period of two to three months. Due to the short gestation period, it has been suggested that the pelagic stingray has either an annual or biannual reproductive periodicity. Specimens of mixed sexes and sizes were collected as bycatch in the pelagic longline fishery from the western North Atlantic, mainly in the South Atlantic Bight (SAB) and Florida East Coast (FEC) NOAA Fisheries pelagic statistical areas. In all, the reproductive tracts of 54 sexually mature males, one immature male, 65 sexually mature females, and two immature females were collected during the period of August 2008 to December 2009. Adult females are gravid in the months of August to February. Adult males had greater testicular weight from August to October. Females collected from March to July were not observed to be gravid while males collected during the same period had significantly (t = 8.2638, P 0.0001) less testicular weight. These data suggest a possible reproductive cycle starting around August and lasting until February for this population.



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