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Biennial reproductive cycle in an extensive matrotrophic viviparous batoid: the sandyback stingaree Urolophus bucculentus from south‐eastern Australia

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Urolophus bucculentus, the largest urolophid species found in southern Australia, exhibits a biennial reproductive cycle. Ovulation occurs during October to January followed by a 15–19 month period of gestation followed by parturition during April to May and a short rest period while the ovarian follicles continue to develop for subsequent ovulation. Male breeding condition peaks during April to June to coincide with the period of parturition. Urolophus bucculentus has the highest matrotrophic contribution reported for any urolophid species, with a mean wet mass gain from egg in utero (4 g) to full‐term embryo in utero (250 g) of c. 6250% (maximum c. 7200%), and perhaps explains the biennial female reproductive cycle where 50% of females contribute to each year's recruitment. Litter size (one to five) increases with total length (L T). Females reach a longer maximum L T (L Tmax) than do males (885 v. 660 mm). The L T at maturity for males and females at 50% mature (L T50) is c. 414 mm (63% of L Tmax) for males and c. 502 mm (57% of L Tmax) for females, length at maternity indicates that recruitment production occurs later in life at c. 632 mm L T (71% of L Tmax).
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Document Type: Editorial

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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