The reproductive biology of the porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) in the western North Atlantic Ocean

Issue:

Author(s): 
Jensen, Christopher F., Lisa J. Natanson, Harold L. Pratt Jr., Nancy Kohler, and Steven E. Campana
Cover date: 
2002
PDF: 
Pages: 
727–738
Abstract: 

Reproductive organs from 393 male and 382 female porbeagles (Lamna nasus), caught in the western North Atlantic Ocean, were examined to determine size at maturity and reproductive cycle. Males ranged in size from 86 to 246 cm fork length (FL) and females ranged from 94 to 288 cm FL. Maturity in males was best described by an inflection in the relationship of clasper length to fork length when combined with clasper calcification. Males matured between 162 and 185 cm FL and 50% were mature at 174 cm FL. In females, all reproductive organ measurements related to body length showed a strong inflection around the size of maturity. Females matured between 210 and 230 cm FL and 50% were mature at 218 cm FL. After a protracted fall mating period (September–November), females give birth to an average of 4.0 young in spring (April−June). As in other lamnids, young are nourished through oophagy. Evidence from this study indicated a one-year reproductive cycle and gestation period lasting 8–9 months.