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Reproduction in the blue shark prionace glauca



Reproduction in the blue shark prionace glauca



Fishery Bulletin (Washington D C) 77(2): 445-470



In the male blue shark, P. glauca, paired testes produce spermatozoa year round which are stored first in the epididymides, then as spermatophores in the lower ductus deferentia. Spermatazoa are transfered to the female through paired claspers employed singly. Spermatozoa are injected into the upper vagina and pass through the uterus and isthmus into the shell(oviducal) gland, where they are stored until the female is ready for fertilization. Male blue sharks reach maturity at 183 cm fork length when 50% possess spermatophores. Females pass through a subadult phase (145-185 cm), when the organs for copulation and sperm storage are developed but the ova are undeveloped. During this phase females receive numerous toothcuts in their thickened dermis as a prelude to mating and frequently copulate. Reproductive organs from 160 subadult female blue sharks, caught in shelf waters off southern New England [USA] during summer months were examined by histological sectioning to determine if spermatozoa were present. Of these females, 79 had spermatozoa in the oviducal gland, establishing successful copulation. Inseminated females then emigrate offshore where fertilization occurs the following spring during ovulation. Blue sharks are viviparous and bear young after 9-12 mo. gestation. New or unpublished accounts (38) of gravid females and one 192 cm hermaphroditic blue shark are investigated. In shelf waters during the summer the sex ratio for subadults is nearly equal while males dominate the adult sizes due to the emigration of inseminated females.

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