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Reproduction and embryonic development of the blue stingray, Dasyatis chrysonota, in southern African waters

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2008

David A. Ebert*
Affiliation:
Pacific Shark Research Center, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, 8272 Moss Landing Road, Moss Landing, CA, 95039, USA
Paul D. Cowley
Affiliation:
South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
*Corresponding
Correspondence should be addressed to: D.A. Ebert, Pacific Shark Research Center, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, 8272 Moss Landing Road, Moss Landing, CA, 95039, USA email: debert@mlml.calstate.edu

Abstract

Dasyatis chrysonota is perhaps the most common of the 14 whiptail stingray (Chondrichthyes: Dasyatidae) species known to frequent the temperate coastal waters of southern Africa and like other stingrays they possess life history characteristics that make them vulnerable to over-exploitation. First and 50% maturity (Dw50) were determined for 153 males and 204 females from the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Disc width (Dw) for first and Dw50 maturity was estimated at 392 mm and 395 mm Dw, respectively for males and at 500 mm and 505 mm Dw, respectively for females. The reproductive cycle of males, based on gonadosomatic (GSI) and hepatosomoatic (HSI) indices indicates that they are most active during the spring. Females appear to have an annual reproductive cycle with a maximum HSI occurring during the summer and autumn, but it declines steadily through the birthing season reaching a low in the late spring. Fecundity, following a nine month gestation period, averages 2.8 with a range of 1–7. Embryos at six different development stages are described. Dasyatis chrysonota, like other dasyatids, exhibit life history characteristics that make them vulnerable to overexploitation, therefore a precautionary management strategy is advised for this species.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2008

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