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Reproduction of the blue-spotted maskray Neotrygon kuhlii (Myliobatoidei: Dasyatidae) in south-east Queensland, Australia

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Abstract:

This study examined the reproduction and population structure of the blue-spotted maskray Neotrygon kuhlii within Moreton Bay, a subtropical embayment in south-east Queensland, Australia. Mean sizes at maturity were 314 mm disc width (WD) in females (n = 140, 115–465 mm WD) and 294 mm WD in males (n = 123, 129–381 mm WD). Female N. kuhlii had a synchronous annual reproductive cycle, with one litter of one to three pups (mean ±s.d. 1·67 ± 0·71) produced per year. Mating behaviours were observed in October and November, and ovulation occurred early in the Austral summer, overlapping with the start of embryonic development. Gestation took c. 4 months with parturition occurring in late February and March. Size at birth was 115–170 mm WD. The population showed a significant female bias, particularly in larger size classes. Tagging studies produced a total recapture rate of 16·1% and indicated that N. kuhlii were site resident for up to 1081 days.

Keywords: Chondrichthyes; Dasyatis; sexual segregation; stingray; tag–recapture

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2009.02202.x

Affiliations: School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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