Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 4, pp 1445–1454 | Cite as

Reproductive biology of shovelnose guitarfish Rhinobatos productus from the eastern Gulf of California México

  • J. Fernando Márquez-FaríasEmail author
Research Article


Guitarfishes are a primary component of artisanal elasmobranch fisheries and are commonly taken as trawl fishery bycatch throughout the Gulf of California. However, little is known of the life history of this species. To address this lack of critical biological information, the reproductive biology of Rhinobatos productus was investigated in the eastern Gulf of California. Development of claspers and testes indicated that males reach maturity at 53 cm total length (TL). Measurements of oviducal gland, largest ovum diameter, and uterus width indicated that females >57 cm TL are mature. This species possesses two functional ovaries: the ovarian cycle and gestation run concurrently. Histological analysis of oviducal glands did not provide evidence of sperm storage, but females carrying uterine capsules were observed over an extended period, suggesting the possibility of diapause in the early embryonic development. Following 4–5 months of embryonic growth, pups were typically born from late June to October after a gestation period of approximately 11–12 months. Width of yolk sac was inversely related to embryo length. The rate of reduction of yolk sac width suggests that embryos depend on the sac until birth. Mean fecundity was estimated to be 5 (range 1–10, s.d. = 2.24) with a 1:1 sex ratio. Average size at birth was 175 mm TL. Seasonally, gravid females enter shallow waters for parturition, becoming extremely vulnerable to gill nets used in the artisanal ray fishery.


Pacific Coast Pregnant Female Mature Specimen Weight Relationship Embryonic Growth 
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The author is grateful to Reyna Castro and Elvira Gonzalez from DICTUS, Universidad de Sonora, for their help in the histological preparations. Thanks are also extended to the fishermen from El Choyudo, El Sahuimaro, Bahía Kino, and El Desemboque Norte, Sonora for allowing the author to examine their catch. Tad Pfister from Prescott Marine Station (University of Arizona) in Bahia de Kino is also thanked. Ann Grant and the editor at Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas del Noroeste made many changes to improve the reading of the text. Instituto Nacional de la Pesca of México financed this study with partial support of Lucile and Packard foundation. The author was partially supported by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, México.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro Regional de Investigación Pesquera de MazatlánInstituto Nacional de la Pesca. SAGARPAMazatlánMéxico
  2. 2.Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del NoroesteGuaymasMéxico

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