Description of the chondrocranium of the silky shark

Published on
21. February 2021

Description of the chondrocranium of the silky shark Carcharhinus falciformis with comments on the cranial terminology and phylogenetic implications in carcharhinids (Chondrichthyes, Carcharhiniformes, Carcharhinidae)

Fernanda de Oliveira Lana, Karla D. A. Soares. Fábio Hissa Vieira Hazin, Ulisses Leite Gomes


The definition and scope of the genus Carcharhinus has undergone several changes over the years and recent molecular studies have questioned its monophyly by the inclusion of other carcharhinid genera. Although many descriptions of chondrocranium are available for Carcharhinus species, some inconsistences and divergences are found in the literature, mainly regarding the foramina of the orbital region. In this study, the chondrocranium of the silky shark, Carcharhinus falciformis, from specimens caught at the Brazilian coast and the terminology of its components is revised has been described. Chondrocrania of other Carcharhinus species and carcharhinid genera are also examined in order to investigate the phylogenetic significance of chondrocranial morphology. Three new anatomical terms and nine chondrocrania characters are proposed and described in detail. The chondrocranial morphology varies widely among Carcharhinus species mainly regarding the rostrum and nasal capsules. The chondrocrania of Prionace, Nasolamia, and Negaprion are similar to Carcharhinus species and reveal the need to further explore the relationships among these genera. Characters potentially informative for systematics are the shape of rostral node, the preorbital process, and the subethmoidal fossa, and the occurrence of an epiphyseal notch and foramen, and must be included in phylogenetic studies encompassing other carcharhiniforms.

Journal of Morphology, Early View, DOI: 10.1002/jmor.21339


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