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Keywords:

  • cryptic species;
  • elasmobranch;
  • hybridization;
  • reproductive isolation;
  • taxonomy

Precaudal vertebral counts were used to distinguish between 237 morphologically similar Carcharhinus limbatus and Carcharhinus tilstoni and were congruent with differences in reproductive ecology between the species. In addition to differing lengths at maturity and adult body size, the two species had asynchronous parturition, were born at different sizes and the relative frequencies of neonates differed in two coastal nursery areas. Despite evidence that hybridization can occur, these differences suggest the species are largely reproductively isolated.