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ESR 35:71-80 (2018)  -  DOI:

Reproductive biology and range extension for Mobula kuhlii cf. eregoodootenkee

Matt K. Broadhurst1,2,*, Betty J. L. Laglbauer3, Katherine B. Burgess4, Melinda A. Coleman1

1NSW Department of Primary Industries, National Marine Science Centre, PO Box 4321, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
2Marine and Estuarine Ecology Unit, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia
3Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, University of the Azores, Horta, Faial, Portugal
4School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, 4072, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Mobulids have been poorly studied, but most are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as Near Threatened or of greater concern. Here we fill critical knowledge gaps surrounding reproduction for Mobula kuhlii cf. eregoodootenkee caught at 29°S—200 km south of their proposed range—off eastern Australia by bather-protection gillnets deployed for 6 mo from December 2016. M. kuhlii cf. eregoodootenkee was the second most abundant netted species (all adults: n = 63), with catches peaking in April. There was no sexual segregation, but females (disc width [DW]: 92.5 to 130.0 cm, mean ± SD 112.8 ± 7.8 cm) were significantly larger than males (99.0 to 123.0 cm, 109.4 ± 6.3 cm). Of those caught, 45 died (71% mortality), of which 20 females and 11 males were assessed for reproduction. Nine females were pre-ovulatory and non-gravid with 7 to 23 oocytes in their left ovary, while 11 had 14 to 40 ovarian oocytes and 1 embryo (DW: 7.0 to 21.2 cm) in their left uterus. The diameter of the largest ovarian follicle in gravid females was not correlated with embryo size, indicating ovulation may not occur immediately after parturition. The development of the largest embryo (DW: 21 cm) suggests parturition occurs well above this size. Males had calcified claspers and exhibited large variation in their testes weights, which might imply seasonal fluctuation in sperm production. In addition to extending the distribution of the species and increasing maximum DW to 130 cm, the data provide further evidence of the low reproductive output of M. kuhlii cf. eregoodootenkee, and a need for their effective management.

KEY WORDS: Elasmobranch · Embryo · Gillnet · Mobula · Reproduction

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Cite this article as: Broadhurst MK, Laglbauer BJL, Burgess KB, Coleman MA (2018) Reproductive biology and range extension for Mobula kuhlii cf. eregoodootenkee. Endang Species Res 35:71-80.

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