Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2017

Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Abstract

The objective of the present study was to describe and characterize macroscopic and microscopic aspects of the reproductive biology of the Giant Electric Ray Narcine entemedor, a viviparous elasmobranch targeted by commercial fishers in Mexico. A total of 305 individual rays were captured (260 females, 45 males); all males were sexually mature. The median size at maturity for females was estimated to be 58.5 cm TL, the median size at pregnancy was 63.7 cm TL, and the median size at maternity was 66.2 cm TL. The range of ovarian follicles recorded per female was 1–69; the maximum ovarian fecundity of fully grown vitellogenic oocytes was 17, and uterine fecundity ranged from 1 to 24 embryos per female. The lengths of the oblong ovarian follicles varied significantly among months, and the largest ovarian follicles were found in July, August, and September. Median embryo size was largest in August, and the size at birth was between 12.4 and 14.5 cm TL. Histological evidence of secretions from the glandular tissue of the uterine villi indicate that this species probably has limited histotrophy as a reproductive mode. Vitellogenesis in the ovary occurred synchronously with gestation in the uterus. The Giant Electric Ray has a continuous annual reproductive cycle; a period of ovulation occurs between May and September and two peaks of parturition, one in January and one in August, occur, suggesting that embryonic diapause occurs in some individuals. These results provide useful information for the management of this important commercial species in Bahía de La Paz, Mexico, and will allow possible modification of the current Mexican regulations to enable better protection of this species.

Publication Title

Marine and Coastal Fisheries

Volume

9

Issue

1

First Page

577

Last Page

596

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