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Age and growth of the round stingray Urobatis halleri at Seal Beach, California

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*Tel.: +1 850 234 6541; fax: +1 850 235 3559; email: loraine.hale@noaa.gov

Abstract

The age and growth of the round stingray Urobatis halleri was determined using vertebral sections from animals collected at Seal Beach, California from 2002 to 2005. Annual periodicity was validated from U. halleri injected with oxytetracycline and maintained in captivity over a 2 year period (n= 7). The coefficients estimated by the von Bertalanffy growth model were the disc width asymptote (WD∞) (286 mm for males and 224 mm for females) and K (0·09 year−1 for males and 0·15 year−1 for females). The age structure of the population consisted of mostly older, mature males and females. Age at maturity was estimated at 3·80 years for females and 3·75 years for males, and the maximum assessed age was 14 years old. Males were more numerous than females throughout the year; however, from May to September, females outnumbered males. The U. halleri age and growth coefficients were comparable to other species in the family Urolophidae. Based on the seasonality and age structure of this population, Seal Beach offers warm-water refuge for U. halleri of reproductive maturity, and the U. halleri at Seal Beach may garner some behavioural thermoregulation benefit.

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