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Chondrichthyan egg cases from the south‐west Atlantic Ocean

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Egg cases of 21 oviparous chondrichthyan species from the south‐west Atlantic Ocean are described and compared. The catshark Schroederichthys bivius has a cigar‐shaped egg case with curled tendrils only at the posterior end. Egg cases of the elephant fish Callorhinchus callorynchus are spindle‐shaped with anterior and posterior tubular extensions and lateral flanges. The skate Amblyraja doellojuradoi presents medium‐sized egg cases (71 mm in length) with a lateral keel extending to the first portion of the horns. The endemic skate species of the genus Atlantoraja have medium to large egg cases (69–104 mm in length) and present relatively large posterior horns. Egg cases of the genus Bathyraja have a medium size, 75–98 mm in length, and are characterized by a very similar morphology, a relatively smooth to rough surface case and posterior horns strongly curved inwards. Egg cases of the genera Dipturus and Zearaja are very large, 115–230 mm in length, and have a well‐developed posterior apron. Despite the problematical identification of skates at species level, the egg capsules of the endemic genus Psammobatis are easily diagnosed; the capsules are small (25–53 mm in length), those of Psammobatis rutrum being the smallest known to date in the world. Egg cases of Rioraja agassizi have a medium size, 61–68 mm in length, relatively straight sides, a smooth surface and silky attachment fibres placed in the lateral keel next to each horn. Those of the genus Sympterygia are small to medium sized, 51–86 mm in length, and display the thickest lateral keel and the longest posterior horns among the skates of the world. Egg cases can be a useful tool for identifying species and egg‐laying areas; therefore, a provisional key for the south‐west Atlantic Ocean chondrichthyan capsules is presented.

Document Type: Regular Paper


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Publication date: 2011-11-01

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