CIE Spotlight: Regional differences in the reproductive parameters of the sparsely-spotted stingaree, Urolophus paucimaculatus, from south-eastern Australia

TitleRegional differences in the reproductive parameters of the sparsely-spotted stingaree, Urolophus paucimaculatus, from south-eastern Australia.

Authors: Trinnie, Fabian I.; Walker, Terence I.; Jones, Paul L.; Laurenson, Laurie J.

Source: MARINE AND FRESHWATER RESEARCH, 65 (11):943-958, OCT 2014.

Brief summary of the paper: Whether spatial variation occurs in the life-history traits of chondrichthyan species is important to fisheries modelling and assessments.

A study on the reproductive parameters of Urolophus paucimaculatus from four separate regions across south-eastern Australia found regional differences in maximum total length (TL), size-at-maturity, size-at-maternity and litter sizes.

Inshore embayments (Port Phillip Bay (PPB) and Corner Inlet (CI)) appear to allow for larger TLs (females and males) than do offshore areas (Lakes Entrance (LE) and Western Bass Strait (WBS)).

Size-at-maturity and size-at-maternity decreased across longitude from west (PPB) to east (LE) and seasonality of parturition and ovulation occurred earlier in PPB (August–October) than in LE (September–December). Maximum litter size correlated with maximum TL (six in PPB, five in each of CI and LE, and four in WBS).

There was uncertainty in classifying females for maternal condition because the reproductive cycle appears to range from a continuous annual cycle to a non-continuous biennial cycle.

Much of the uncertainty arises from the ambiguity of observation of non-pregnant mature females, which have either aborted through capture and handling, or are in a ‘resting year’ between pregnancies. Most likely, the majority are reproducing annually with an unknown proportion of females non-continuous and resting between pregnancies.