Ecology of the Silky shark in the Equatorial Atlantic Ocean

Published in 2012

Ecologia do tubarão lombo preto Carcharhinus falciformis(Muller & Henle, 1839) na margem ocidental do oceano Atlântico Equatorial

Fernanda de Oliveira Lana


The silky shark, Carcharhinus falciformis, is an abundant species in tropical and equatorial waters of the pelagic zone. The present work aimed at studying the ecology of the silky shark, including aspects of its reproduction, relative abundance, distribution, habitat use and migration on the Equatorial Atlantic Ocean. From November 1992 to December 2011, 153 specimens were examined, 72 males and 81 females, resulting in a sex ratio close to 1:1 (0.89:1.00). All specimens were caught by commercial tuna longline boats, in the area located between 08°N to 53°S latitude and 08°E to 48°W longitude. The results suggest a size at first maturity for females around 205- 210 cm and for males between 180- 200 cm TL. Females were found in 5 maturational stages: juvenile (n = 29/ 35.8% from 74 to 204 cm, TL), maturing (n = 10 / 12.3%, from 215 to 295 cm TL), pre- ovulatory (n = 14 / 17.3%, 177 to 280 cm TL), pregnant (n = 24 / 29.6%, 203 to 270 cm TL) and resting (n = 4 / 4.9%, from 223 to 285 cm TL). Males were classified into 4 stages: juvenile (n = 38/ 52.8% from 81 to 220 cm TL and clasper length – CL <12 cm), maturing (n = 16/ 22.2%, from 166 to 208 TL cm, 9.5 to 24.5 cm CL;), adult (n = 17/ 23.6%, from 141 to 272 cm TL, CL> 24.5 cm) and neonate (n = 1/ 1.4%, 82 cm TL, CL 4 cm). Catch and effort data from 16.016 sets made by Brazilian tuna longliners, from 2004 to 2011, were analyzed. The CPUE was calculated and the catch and effort data were grouped in squares of 5° x 5° latitude and longitude. Two silky sharks were tagged with satellite transmitters PSAT (Pop-up Satellite Archival Tag), in the vicinity of Archipelago of Saint Peter and Saint Paul – ASPSP, but from only one it was possible to recover the data. The preferred temperature range of the tagged animal was between 27 and 28°C with a preferred depth between 1 and 10m.

A Dissertation submitted to the Federal University of Pernambuco as required to obtain the Masters degree.



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