NEWSLETTER 2/2010 14. February 2010

Joachim Ladwig, Norderbrarup, Germany E-Mail:

Juan Carlos Quiroz E., División de Investigación Pesquera, Instituto de Fomento Pesquero, Valparaíso, Chile

Cahide Çigdem YIGIN, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Fisheries Faculty, Çanakkale, Turkey

Romain Vullo, Laboratoire de Paléontologie, Géosciences, Université de Rennes, Rennes, France

Dr. Mark Meekan, Australian Institute of Marine Science, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia

Conrad Speed, School for Environmental Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia (Homepage)

Cynthia Awruch, Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

Jean-Paul Baut, Marcoussis, France

Partner in Google-Maps

30.01.2010: 231 new data, 133 new analysed papers

13.02.2010: 140 new data, 189 new analysed papers

Sunday, 21. February 2010


Currently this database contains 6.499 papers (4.130 about recent sharks, rays and chimaeras, 2.369 about fossil sharks, rays and chimaeras). Out of this 6.499 papers, 2.605 papers had been evaluated , and there is the possibility of free downloading 660 papers.

Top Ten of “Species”

name of species

number of hits

Carcharodon carcharias


Prionace glauca


Isurus oxyrinchus


Sphyrna lewini


Carcharhinus leucas


Carcharhinus limbatus


Carcharhinus plumbeus


Squalus acanthias


Negaprion brevirostris


Galeocerdo cuvier




BOTELLA, H. & VALENZUELA-RÍOS, J.I. & MARTÍNEZ-PÉREZ, C.; 2009; Tooth replacement rates in early chondrichthyans: a qualitative approach.; Lethaia, 42 (3): 365-376

DIEDRICH, C.; 2009; The vertebrates of the Anisian/Ladinian boundary (Middle Triassic) from Bissendorf (NW Germany) and their contribution to the anatomy, palaeoecology, and palaeobiogeography of the Germanic Basin reptiles.; Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 273 (1): 1-16

FISCHER, J. & VOIGT, S. & BUCHWITZ, M. & SCHNEIDER, J.W.; 2009; The selachian fauna from the non-marine middle to late Triassic Madygen Formation (Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia): preliminary results.; Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29 (Supplement to Number 3): 95A-96A

FISCHER, J. & VOIGT, S. & SCHNEIDER, J.W. & FRANZ, M. & JOACHIMSKI, M.M.; 2009; Reconstructing the palaeoecology of the hybodont shark. Lissodus of the Rhaetian Central European Basin using oxygen isotopes.; 79. Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft, Abstracts: 33-34

KOGAN, I. & SCHÖNBERGER, K. & FISCHER, J. & VOIGT, S.; 2009; A nearly complete skeleton of Saurichthys orientalis (Pisces, Actinopterygii) from the Madygen Formation (Middle to Late Triassic, Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia) – preliminary results.; Freiberger Forschungshefte, C532: 139-152

MAISEY, J.G. & MILLER, R.F, & TURNER, S.; 2009; The braincase of the chondrichthyan Doliodus from the Lower Devonian Campbellton Formation of New Brunswick, Canada.; Acta Zoologica (Stockholm), 90 (Suppl. 1): 109-122

NÉRAUDEAU, D. & VULLO, R. & GOMEZ, B. & GIRARD, V. & LAK, M. & VIDET, B. & DÉPRÉ, É. & PERRICHOT, V.; 2009; Amber, plant and vertebrate fossils from the Lower Cenomanian paralic facies of Aix Island (Charente-Maritime, SW France).; Geodiversitas, 31 (1) : 13-27

VAN DEN EECKHAUT, G. & DE SCHUTTER, P.; 2009; The Elasmobranch Fauna of the Lede Sand Formation at Oosterzele (Lutetian, Middle Eocene of Belgium). ; Palaeofocus, 1: 1-57, 2 fig., 2 tab., 22 pl.

VULLO, R. & ARNAUD, E.; 2009; Presence de Ptychodus latissimus Agassiz, 1843 (Elasmobranchii, Hybodontiformes) dans le Cretace Superieur des Charentes.; Annales de la Societe des Sciences Naturelles de la Charente- Maritime, 9 (9) : 962-966

VULLO, R. & BERNÁRDEZ, E. & BUSCALIONI, A.D.; 2009; Vertebrates from the middle?-late Cenomanian La Cabaña Formation (Asturias, northern Spain): Palaeoenvironmental and palaeobiogeographic implications.; Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 276 (1): 120-129


CAMPANA, S.E. & JOYCE, W. & MANNING, M.J.; 2009; Bycatch and discard mortality in commercially caught blue sharks Prionace glauca assessed using archival satellite pop-up tags.; Marine Ecology Progress Series, 387: 241-253

CHABOT, C.L. & ALLEN, L.G.; 2009; Global population structure of the tope (Galeorhinus galeus) inferred by mitochondrial control region sequence data.; Molecular Ecology, 18: 545-552

FANELLI, E. & REY, J. & TORRES, P. & GIL DE SOLA, L.; 2009; Feeding habits of blackmouth catshark Galeus melastomus Rafinesque, 1810 and velvet belly lantern shark Etmopterus spinax (Linnaeus, 1758) in the western Mediterranean.; Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 25 (S1): 83-93

FIELD, I.C. & MEEKAN, M.G. & BUCKWORTH, R.C. & BRADSHAW, C.J.A.; 2009; Susceptibility of sharks, rays and chimaeras to global extinction.; Advances in Marine Biology, 56: 275-363

FOWLER, G.M. & CAMPANA, S.E.; 2009; Commercial by-catch rates of blue shark (Prionace glauca) from longline fisheries in the Canadian Atlantic.; Collect. Vol. Sci. Pap. ICCAT, 64 (5): 1650-1667

HUBER, D.R. & CLAES, J.M. & MALLEFET, J. & HERREL, A.; 2009; Is Extreme Bite Performance Associated with Extreme Morphologies in Sharks?; Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 82 (1): 20-28

JACOBSEN, I.P. & BENNETT, M.B.; 2009; A Taxonomic Review of the Australian Butterfly Ray Gymnura australis (Ramsay & Ogilby, 1886) and Other Members of the family Gymnuridae (Order Rajiformes) from the Indo-West Pacific.; Zootaxa, 2228: 1-28

JONES, A.A. & POTTER, I.C.; 2009; Description of the reproductive tract and gonad histology of a second form of hermaphroditism in the Port Jackson shark Heterodontus portusjacksoni.; Journal of the Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 89: 1403-1407

JORDAN, L.K. & KAJIURA, S.M. & GORDON, M.S.; 2009; Functional consequences of structural differences in stingray sensory systems. Part II: electrosensory system.; Journal of Experimental Biology, 212: 3044-3050

KAJIURA, S.M. & FITZGERALD, T.P.; 2009; Response of juvenile scalloped hammerhead sharks to electric stimuli.; Zoology, 112: 241-250

KAJIURA, S.M. & MACESIC, L.J. & MEREDITH, T.L. & COCKS, K.L. & DIRK, L.J.; 2009; Commensal foraging between double-crested cormorants and a Southern stingray.; The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 121 (3): 646-648

KAJIURA, S.M. & TALLACK, S.M.L.; 2009; Pupil dilation in the spiny dogfish, Squalus acanthias.; MDI Biological Laboratory Bulletin, 48: 68

KOLMANN, M.A. & HUBER, D.R.; 2009; Scaling of feeding biomechanics in the horn shark Heterodontus francisci: ontogenetic constraints on durophagy.; Zoology, 112 (5): 351-361

LOWRY, D. & CASTRO, A.L.F. & MARA, K.R. & WHITENACK, L.B. & DELIUS, B. & BURGESS, G.H. & MOTTA, P.J.; 2009; Determining shark size from forensic analysis of bite damage.; Marine Biology, 156 (12): 2483-2492

MACESIC, L.J. & KAJIURA, S.M.; 2009; Electric organ morphology and function in the lesser electric ray, Narcine brasiliensis.; Zoology, 112: 442-450

MARA, K.R. & MOTTA, P.J. & HUBER, D.R.; 2009; Bite Force and Performance in the Durophagous Bonnethead Shark, Sphyrna tiburo.; Journal of Experimental Biology, 311A: 1-11

MARSHALL, A.D. & COMPAGNO, L.J.V. & BENNETT, M.B.; 2009; Redescription of the genus Manta with resurrection of Manta alfredi (Krefft, 1868) (Chondrichthyes; Myliobatoidei; Mobulidae).; Zootaxa, 2301: 1-28

McGOWAN, D.W. & KAJIURA, S.M.; 2009; Electroreception in the euryhaline stingray, Dasyatis sabina.; Journal of Experimental Biology, 212: 1544-1552

McPHIE, R.P. & CAMPANA, S.E.; 2009; Bomb dating and age determination of skates (Family Rajidae) off the eastern coast of Canada.; ICES Journal of Marine Science, 66: 546-560

ROWAT, D. & GORE, M. & MEEKAN, M.G. & LAWLER, I.R. & BRADSHAW, C.J.A.; 2009; Aerial survey as a tool to estimate whale shark abundance trends.; Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 368: 1-8

ROWAT, D. & SPEED, C.W. & MEEKAN, M.G. & GORE, M.A. & BRADSHAW, C.J.A.; 2009; Population abundance and apparent survival of the vulnerable whale shark Rhincodon typus in the Seychelles aggregation.; Oryx, 43 (4): 591-598

RUOCCO, N.L. & LUCIFORA, L.O. & DÍAZ DE ASTARLOA, J.M. & BREMEC, C.; 2009; Diet of the white-dotted skate, Bathyraja albomaculata, in waters of Argentina.; Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 25 (S1): 94-97

SAÏDI, B. & BRADAÏ, M.N. & BOUAÏN, A.; 2009; Reproductive biology and diet of Mustelus punctulatus (Risso, 1826) (Chondrichthyes: Triakidae) from the Gulf of Gabès, central Mediterranean Sea.; Scientia Marina, 73 (2): 249-258

SAÏDI, B. & ENAJJAR, S. & BRADAÏ, M.N. & BOUAÏN, A.; 2009; Diet composition of smooth-hound shark, Mustelus mustelus (Linnaeus, 1758), in the Gulf of Gabès, southern Tunisia.; Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 25 (S1): 113-118

SLEEMAN, J.C. & MEEKAN, M.G. & FITZPATRICK, B.M. & STEINBERG, C.R. & ANCEL, R. & BRADSHAW, C.J.A.; 2009; Oceanographic and atmospheric phenomena influence the abundance of whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.; Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 382: 77-81

SPEED, C.W. & MEEKAN, M.G. & RUSSELL, B.C. & BRADSHAW, C.J.A.; 2009; Recent whale shark (Rhincodon typus) beach strandings in Australia.; Marine Biodiversity Records, 2: 1-3

YELDAN, H. & AVSAR, D. & MANASIRLI, M.; 2009; Age, growth and feeding of the common stingray (Dasyatis pastinaca, L., 1758) in the Cilician coastal basin, northeastern Mediterranean Sea.; Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 25 (S1): 98-102

YIGIN, C.C. & ISMEN, A.; 2009; Length–weight relationships for seven rays from Saros Bay (North Aegean Sea).; Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 25 (S1): 106-108

BANSEMER, C.S. & BENNETT, M.B.; 2010; Retained fishing gear and associated injuries in the east Australian grey nurse sharks (Carcharias taurus): implications for population recovery .; Marine and Freshwater Research, 61 (1): 97-103

FARRELL, E.D. & MARIANI, S. & CLARKE, M.W.; 2010; Age and growth estimates for the starry smoothhound (Mustelus asterias) in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean.; ICES Journal of Marine Science, xxx: 9p

GRIFFITHS, A.M. & SIMS, D.W. & COTTERELL, S.P. & EL NAGAR, A. & ELLIS, J.R. & LYNGHAMMAR, A. & MCHUGH, M. & NEAT, F.C. & PADE, N.G. & QUEIROZ, N. & SERRA-PEREIRA, B. & RAPP, T. & WEARMOUTH, V.J. & GENNER, M.J.; 2010; Molecular markers reveal spatially segregated cryptic species in a critically endangered fish, the common skate (Dipturus batis).; Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, : in press

HEUPEL, M.R. & YEISER, B.G. & COLLINS, A.B. & ORTEGA, L. & SIMPFENDOFER, C.A.; 2010; Long-term presence and movement patterns of juvenile bull sharks, Carcharhinus leucas, in an estuarine river system.; Marine and Freshwater Research, 61 (1): 1-10

POWTER, D.M. & GLADSTONE, W. & PLATELL, M.; 2010; The influence of sex and maturity on the diet, mouth morphology and dentition of the Port Jackson shark, Heterodontus portusjacksoni.; Marine and Freshwater Research, 61 (1): 74-85

QUIROZ, J.C. & WIFF, R. & CANECO, B.; 2010; Incorporating uncertainty into estimation of natural mortality for two species of Rajidae fished in Chile.; Fisheries Research: in press


Rare shark ritual spotted by news crew off WA coast

January 18, 2010

A LARGE school of hammerhead sharks has been spotted carrying out a rarely seen mating ritual 1km off Perth's northern beaches.

The 17 sharks, some up to 4m long, were filmed from a Channel Nine helicopter this morning just a 1km from the Marmion Anglers' Club.

Shark expert Mr Hugh Edwards said the ritual had only been filmed twice before, once off Mexico and once near the Rowley Shoals off WA’s North-West coast. “It’s exciting, it’s mind-blowing, this is some of the best shark vision I have seen. It is a very, very unusual spectacle,” Mr Edwards said. Hammerhead sharks are usually solitary animals and not seen in big groups.

"They were swimming in circles which we assume is a mating ritual. They certainly weren't hunting anything," Mr Edwards said."It's very unusual to see hammerhead sharks in a group and when they are it is regarded as a world-wide phenomenon. "There are very few places in the world where it happens and nobody has ever heard of it happening off Perth before."

The mating behaviour of the hammerhead shark can be violent and recently scientists discovered the sharks can reproduce asexually as well. Hammerheads are mostly found in tropical waters and there has never been a recorded attack on a human by this species of shark.

The news team was flying over the coast looking for a 4m shark which was reported to be just 50m from Sorrento beach this morning. Camerman Paul Brown also captured images of a dolphin frolicking just metres from the hammerheads.


Shark Virgin Birth Study Shows Offspring Can Survive Long Term

ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2010) — Shark pups born to virgin mothers can survive over the long-term, according to new research published Jan. 25, 2010 in the Journal of Heredity. The study shows for the first time that some virgin births can result in viable offspring.

Genetic analysis led by a Field Museum scientist working with numerous colleagues has confirmed the first known case of a virgin female shark producing multiple offspring that survived. Two daughters of the white-spotted bamboo shark are now more than five years old. Earlier research proved that reproduction occurred in two other shark species without aid of male sperm, a phenomenon called parthenogenesis, but the offspring did not survive in those cases.

Dr. Kevin Feldheim, manager of the Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution at the Field Museum, analyzed the sharks' genetic material to rule out any paternal reproduction assistance.

"Examination of highly variable sections of the genome prove that these young sharks had no father," Feldheim said. "These findings are remarkable because they tell us that some female sharks can produce litters of offspring without ever having mated with a male.

"We compared several sections of the genome between two of the young sharks and their mother. It turned out that all the genetic material in each of the young ones came from the mother, proving there was no father."

Although the shark mother was kept in a tank at the Belle Isle Aquarium in Detroit where only another female of a different but related species resided, genetic testing was required to rule out the possibility that the female shark could have encountered male sperm earlier in her life.

A second analysis using more general techniques to examine more than a hundred additional regions of the genome was performed by Séan Fitzpatrick, Ph.D. Student, and Dr. Paulo Prodöhl, head of the Fish Genetics and Molecular Ecology Laboratory, of Queen's University in Belfast, to confirm Feldheim's finding.The analysis found that the young sharks didn't share all their mother's genetic material and aren't true clones of her, but more like "half-clones," said Feldheim.

Parthenogenesis occurs when an egg or ovum fuses with a cell called a sister polar body, a byproduct of ova production, rather than with male sperm, to promote cell division. The sister polar body is nearly genetically identical to the ovum, said Dr. Demian Chapman of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, co-author of the current study and lead author in earlier studies of virgin shark births.

Despite the lack of genetic diversity involved in omitting sperm from the process, "parthenogenesis may not be as much of a dead-end mode of reproduction as we thought for these sharks," Chapman said.

Douglas Sweet, who formerly worked at the Detroit aquarium, decided to incubate the bamboo shark eggs when he discovered an apparent virgin had produced them because of earlier experiences elsewhere that suggested virgin shark reproduction.

Sweet, now superintendent of the London State Fish Hatchery in London, Ohio, said that studies have confirmed asexual reproduction in sharks that bear offspring live and those that deposit eggs. This leads to interesting genetic and conservation implications.

It could mean that a bamboo shark finding herself isolated on a small reef with no male in the vicinity could produce offspring in hopes that male suitors may eventually find their way to her daughters. "Sharks have been around for hundreds of millions of years," Sweet said. "I suspect they have some pretty interesting survival strategies that we are only now becoming aware of."

Adapted from materials provided by Stony Brook University.

Rotting Fish Heads: Novel Studies of Decomposition Shed New Light on Our Earliest Fossil Ancestry

ScienceDaily (Feb. 1, 2010) — Decaying corpses are usually the domain of forensic scientists, but palaeontologists have discovered that studying rotting fish sheds new light on our earliest ancestry.

The researchers, from the Department of Geology at the University of Leicester, devised a new method for extracting information from 500 million year old fossils -they studied the way fish decompose to gain a clearer picture of how our ancient fish-like ancestors would have looked. Their results indicate that some of the earliest fossils from our part of the tree of life may have been more complex than has previously been thought.

Their findings were published on Jan 31, ahead of print in Advance Online Publication (AOP) of the science journal Nature.

Dr Rob Sansom, lead author of the paper explains: "Interpreting fossils is in some ways similar to forensic analysis -- we gather all the available clues to put together a scientific reconstruction of something that happened in the past. Unlike forensics, however, we are dealing with life from millions of years ago, and we are less interested in understanding the cause or the time of death. What we want to get at is what an animal was like before it died and, as with forensic analysis, knowing how the decomposition that took place after death altered the body provides important clues to its original anatomy."

This is something that palaeontologists sometimes overlook, according to Sansom, "probably because spending hundreds of hours studying the stinking carcasses of rotting fish is not something that appeals to everyone." But the rewards are worth the discomfort.

Fish-like fossils from half a billion years ago are recognised as being part of our evolutionary history because they possess characteristic anatomical features, such as a tail, eyes and the precursor of a backbone. Sansom continues: "It seems contradictory, but decomposition is an important part of the process by which animals become preserved and fossilized, so by knowing how these important anatomical features change as they rot, we are better able to correctly interpret the most ancient fossils representing the lowest branches of our part of the evolutionary tree."

"These fossils provide our only direct record of when and how our earliest vertebrate ancestors evolved" adds Dr Mark Purnell, one of the leaders of the study. "Did they appear suddenly, in an evolutionary explosion of complexity, or gradually over millions of years? What did they look like? -- in what ways did they differ from their worm-like relatives and how did this set the stage for later evolutionary events? Answers to these fundamental questions -- the how, when and why of our own origins -- remain elusive because reading the earliest vertebrate fossil record is difficult."

The scarcity of branches in this part of the evolutionary tree could reflect rapid, explosive evolution or the simple fact that, because they lacked bones or teeth, the earliest vertebrates left few fossils.

This is the area in which Dr Sarah Gabbott, who with Purnell conceived the Leicester study, is an expert: "Only in the most exceptional circumstances do soft-tissues, such as eyes, muscles and guts, become fossilized, yet it is precisely such remains that we rely on for understanding our earliest evolutionary relatives: half-a-billion years ago it's pretty much all our ancestors had."

The results published in Nature, show that some of the characteristic anatomical features of early vertebrate fossils have been badly affected by decomposition, and in some cases may have rotted away completely. Knowing how decomposition affected the fossils means our reconstructions of our earliest ancestors will be more scientifically accurate.

The work was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Story Source: Adapted from materials provided by University of Leicester, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Scientists solve porbeagle puzzle
Satellite tracking system shows sharks swim to Sargossa Sea to give birth
By BRIAN MEDEL Yarmouth Bureau
Fri. Feb 5 - 5:50 AM

A large female porbeagle shark thrashes on deck before being satellitetagged by scientists and released back into the ocean. (STEVE CAMPANA)

In the deep, clear waters of the Sargasso Sea just by the Bermuda Triangle, chunky porbeagle sharks are giving birth.

“In the fish world this is pretty exciting news," marine biologist and shark expert Steve Campana said Thursday.

It’s exciting because until now researchers didn’t know where this smaller relative of the great white shark delivered its pups.

“We’ve been trying to find this out for 10 years," Mr. Campana said.

Porbeagle sharks are caught off Nova Scotia where Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the shark fishing industry are trying to rebuild declining populations, Mr. Campana said.

Shark populations around the world are crashing due to the intense level of fishing created by the demand for shark steak in Europe and cartilages and fins in places like the Orient.

The porbeagle population hasn’t fully recovered from some hard fishing in the 1960s that depleted its numbers, the scientist said. Knowing more about it would help scientists regulate the shark fishery better.

The porbeagle weighs about 200 kilograms and measures about 2.5 metres in length. Scientists knew females were getting pregnant in Canadian waters and carrying their embryos for nine months before heading offshore to deliver up to four pups each. They just didn’t know where they were going.

“We finally got our answer," said Mr. Campana.

They found out by tagging female porbeagle sharks and following their movements with a satellite tracking system.

The project started with Mr. Campana and a team of scientists going out on to the Georges Bank a couple of years ago to catch female sharks. After they were caught on baited hooks, the shark was put into a cradle and winched on deck.

“The first thing I do is put it on life support" by placing a hose with flowing salt water into the shark’s mouth, Mr. Campana said.

A wet cloth was also placed over the shark’s eyes to keep its stress level down. The hook was removed, the tag was placed just below the dorsal fin and the shark was released.

“There’s a wire that’s attached to this little device which is really like a mini computer that’s (15 centimetres) long," said Mr. Campana, pointing to a ta g.

The tag measured how deep the sharks went, the water temperature and the light level which gave a rough idea of location.

“It does this every five minutes or so," said Mr. Campana.

After about a year, the device separates from the shark, floats to the ocean surface and transmits its data to an orbiting satellite.

“So we get a complete record of what the shark’s been doing for the past year or so," Mr. Campana said.

And what they discovered, surprised scientists. The satellite tracking system traced the porbeagles to the Sargasso Sea — more than 2,000 kilometres away from their perceived normal habitat.

The Sargasso Sea is a safe place for the porbeagles to give birth because it is a calm area where very little fishing occurs, he said.

And the tags show that the sharks are so deep in the Sargasso Sea, they are essentially uncatchable.

“They’re averaging half a kilometre below the surface," said Mr. Campana.

One shark dived to 1.36 kilometres below the surface, the deepest recorded for a large shark, he said.

Mr. Campana will detail the experiment’s results in an upcoming scientific journal.