Comparison of the reproductive ecology of two sympatric blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus and Carcharhinus tilstoni) off north-eastern Australia with species identification inferred from vertebral counts

Authors

  • A. V. Harry,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture & School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia
      Tel.: +61 7 4781 4486; email: alastair.harry@gmail.com
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  • J. A. T. Morgan,

    1. Molecular Fisheries Laboratory, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Queensland Government, P. O. Box 6097, St Lucia, Qld 4069, Australia
    2. The University of Queensland; Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, St Lucia, Qld 4069, Australia
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  • J. R. Ovenden,

    1. Molecular Fisheries Laboratory, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Queensland Government, P. O. Box 6097, St Lucia, Qld 4069, Australia
    2. The University of Queensland; Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, St Lucia, Qld 4069, Australia
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  • A. J. Tobin,

    1. Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture & School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia
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  • D. J. Welch,

    1. Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture & School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia
    2. Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, P. O. Box 1085, Oonoonba, Qld 4811, Australia
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  • C. A. Simpfendorfer

    1. Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture & School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia
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Tel.: +61 7 4781 4486; email: alastair.harry@gmail.com

Abstract

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.

Ancillary