Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 102, Issue 12, pp 1499–1517 | Cite as

Age, growth, and maturation of the Finetooth Shark, Carcharhinus isodon, in the Western North Atlantic Ocean

  • Elizabeth A. VinyardEmail author
  • Bryan S. Frazier
  • J. Marcus Drymon
  • James J. Gelsleichter
  • Walter J. Bubley


Many elasmobranchs display K-selected life history characteristics, making species-specific life history parameters critical to development of the most accurate stock assessment models. Age, growth, and maturity were examined for Finetooth Sharks, Carcharhinus isodon, in coastal waters of the Western North Atlantic Ocean (WNA) from Winyah Bay, South Carolina to Cape Canaveral, Florida. Ages were estimated from the vertebrae of 200 males and 232 females. The maximum observed age for males and females was 21.9 years and 22.3 years, respectively. Sizes ranged from 376 mm to 1174 mm fork length (FL) for males and 380 mm to 1282 mm FL for females. Significant differences were detected between the sexes necessitating sex-specific von Bertalanffy growth models yielding the following parameters: male, L = 1140 mm FL, k = 0.29, L0 = 460 mm FL; female, L = 1253 mm FL, k = 0.20, L0 = 464 mm FL. Median length (L50) at maturity was 1010 mm FL for males and 1043 mm FL for females corresponding to an age at median maturity (A50) of 6.6 years and 6.8 years, respectively. Significant differences in growth and maturity were detected between the current study and previously published parameters for the WNA and Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Observed differences in the WNA were driven by ageing methods, with current methods yielding significant differences in age estimates between studies. Results from the current study, in conjunction with previously published reproductive, tag-recapture and genetic studies, provide support for separate stocks between the WNA and GOM.


Longevity Life history Elasmobranch Carcharhinidae Small coastal shark 



The authors would like to thank the Inshore Fisheries section with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for assistance in specimen collection and use of lab and freezer space, and J. Ballenger for his expertise in generating our GIS map. A. Shaw has been invaluable for her assistance with specimen collection and data management. We appreciate the University of North Florida Shark Lab students for collection of specimens during the overwintering period. This study was conducted as part of the Master’s in Marine Biology program at the University of Charleston, South Carolina, and we thank committee members W. Roumillat and G. Sancho as well as director C. Plante and dean A. McCandless for their support. Funding for this study was provided by The Cooperative Atlantic States Shark Pupping and Nursery Habitat Survey (COASTSPAN), the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Cooperative Research Grant #NA12NMF4540080. We appreciate the guidance of two anonymous reviewers who greatly improved the manuscript. This is contribution number 536 from the Grice Marine Laboratory, University of Charleston, South Carolina and contribution number 815 from the SCDNR Marine Resources Research Institute.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

Specimens were collected following protocols outlined in Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee permit IACUC-2014-015 or under SCDNR scientific collection permit.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South Carolina Department of Natural ResourcesMarine Resources Research InstituteCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Coastal Research and Extension CenterMississippi State UniversityBiloxiUSA
  3. 3.The University of North FloridaJacksonvilleUSA

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