Morphological description of ovary and uterus of the nurse shark caught off Northeast Brazil

Published on
10. January 2020

Morphological description of ovary and uterus of the nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) caught off at the Fortaleza coast, Northeast Brazil

Mariana G. Rêgo, Maria Lucia G. Araujo, Maria Edna G. Barros, Lorena D’Andrade Aires, Paulo G.V. Oliveira, Fábio H.V. Hazin, John L. Fitzpatrick, Joaquim Evêncio-Neto


The nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum (Bonnaterre, 1778) is one of the most studied species of elasmobranchs. However, the knowledge of their reproductive biology is still relatively rare, particularly in the western South Atlantic. This study aimed to describe the morphology of the uterus and the ovary of G. cirratum, based on specimens caught off at the Fortaleza/CE coast, northeast Brazil. Samples were collected from September 2012 to June 2013, from regular landings of artisanal fishing, which commercialize this species freely. A total of ten females were collected. The methodologies followed for analyzing the ovaries and uterus of those females included both macroscopic and histological analysis. G. cirratum has internal type ovary morphology, with invaginations of connective tissue, which defines compartments and separate oocyte groups in ovigerous lots. The epithelium lining the ovary changes from simple columnar ciliated in the area without ovigerous lots, which turns into a simple cubic epithelium in the coating portion of the epigonal organ where ovarian tissue is absent. The uterine mucosa has secretory cells denoted by Alcian Blue staining, indicating the production of mucopolysaccharides, even in immature individuals. This lecithotrophic shark has a uterine vascularized mucosa that is one characteristic of viviparous elasmobranch species.

Pesq. Vet. Bras. vol.39 no.12, DOI 10.1590/1678-5150-pvb-6141


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