The annual reproductive cycle of the female lesser spotted dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula L., and its endocrine control

Authors

  • J. P. Sumpter,

    1. Department of Zoology, University College of North Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, Wales
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    • *

      Department of Applied Biology, School of Biological Sciences, Brunei University, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH, England.

  • J. M. Dodd

    1. Department of Zoology, University College of North Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, Wales
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Abstract

Various aspects of the reproductive physiology of the female lesser spotted dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula L., demonstrate marked annual cycles. Pituitary ventral lobe gonadotrophin content and plasma oestradiol and testosterone levels rise through the autumn as the ovary recrudesces and the percentage of fish bearing eggs in the oviducts increases. The pituitary gonadotrophin and plasma sex steroid levels remain elevated throughout the winter but decrease during the spring, two months prior to a fall in both the gonadosomatic index (GSI) and the percentage of fish with eggs in their oviducts. The lowest gonadotrophin and sex steroid levels are found in early summer, again preceding the minimum GSI and rate of egg-laying by two or three months. Some of these cycles are pronounced, the pituitary gonadotrophin levels varying by more than 100-fold, and the oestradiol levels by more than 10-fold, throughout the year. It is concluded that the female dogfish has a very extended breeding season, though the peak frequency of egg-laying occurs in the winter and spring.

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