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Free Content Diel Activity Patterns of the Smooth Dogfish Shark, Mustelus Canis

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Fourteen smooth dogfish sharks, Mustelus canis, collected from bays in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, (12°C, 30‰ salinity) were tested individually in an electronic shuttlebox to determine their diel activity patterns. Activity was quantified as interruptions of photocell-monitored light beams as the sharks shuttled between chambers of the device. The sharks were tested under an artificial photoperiod of 8 h photophase, 4 h dusk, 8 h scotophase and 4 h dawn. The sharks exhibited a primarily nocturnal activity pattern, with 45% of their total 24-h activity occurring during scotophase, 32% during the crepuscular transitions, and 23% during photophase. Activity levels increased steadily after onset of scotophase, reaching a peak between 0100 and 0400, and began to decrease prior to onset of “dawn.” Nocturnal activity in M. canis may be related to the fact that its crustacean prey are also nocturnal.
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Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: 1979-07-01

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