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Distribution, reproduction and feeding of the Greenland shark Somniosus (Somniosus) microcephalus, with notes on two other sleeper sharks, Somniosus (Somniosus) pacificus and Somniosus (Somniosus) antarcticus

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The size and depth distribution, stomach contents and reproductive status of Somniosus (Somniosus) microcephalus, Somniosus (Somniosus) pacificus and Somniosus (Somniosus) antarcticus were examined from specimens collected from the North and South Atlantic, North and South Pacific, and the Southern Ocean. Specimens ranged in size from 42 to 480 cm total length, LT, and were taken from depths of 35–1280 m. Stomach contents included coelenterates, gastropods, cephalopods, echinoderms, crustaceans, elasmobranchs, teleosts, penguins, marine mammals and human waste. Female S. (S.) microcephalus mature at c. 450 cm and S. (S.) antarcticus at c. 435 cm LT; a female S. (S.) pacificus of 430 cm was mature. Male S. (S.) microcephalus mature at c. 300 cm, but male S. (S.) antarcticus may not mature until c. 400 cm LT. The size at birth in these three species of Somniosus is c. 40 cm LT.

Keywords: depth-distribution; maturity; stomach contents

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Iziko-Shark Research Centre, P. O. Box 61 Cape Town, 8000, South Africa

Publication date: 2007-02-01

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