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Population structure, spatial distribution and life-history traits of blacktip reef sharks Carcharhinus melanopterus

Authors

  • J. Mourier,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratoire d'Excellence ‘CORAIL’, USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, CBETM de l'Université de Perpignan, Perpignan Cedex, France
    • Laboratoire d'Excellence ‘CORAIL’, USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, Polynésie française
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  • S. C. Mills,

    1. Laboratoire d'Excellence ‘CORAIL’, USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, CBETM de l'Université de Perpignan, Perpignan Cedex, France
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  • S. Planes

    1. Laboratoire d'Excellence ‘CORAIL’, USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, Polynésie française
    2. Laboratoire d'Excellence ‘CORAIL’, USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, CBETM de l'Université de Perpignan, Perpignan Cedex, France
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel.: +336 727 12157; email: johann.mourier@gmail.com

Abstract

During a survey of the population of blacktip reef shark Carcharhinus melanopterus in Moorea (French Polynesia) between 2007 and 2011, population structural characteristics were estimated from 268 individuals. Total length (LT) ranged from 48 to 139 cm and 48 to 157 cm for males and females, respectively, demonstrating that the average LT of females was larger than that of males. The C. melanopterus population at Moorea showed an apparent spatial sexual segregation with females preferentially frequenting lagoons and males the fore-reefs. Mean growth rate was c. 6 cm year−1. Males reached sexual maturity at 111 cm LT. This study reports on the population characteristics of this widespread carcharhinid shark species and makes comparisons with other locations, confirming high geographic variability in the population structure of the species.

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