Sex- and maturity-based differences in movement and migration patterns of grey nurse shark, Carcharias taurus, along the eastern coast of Australia

Published on 24 June 2011.

C. S. Bansemer and M. B. Bennett.


Photo-identification techniques were used to investigate temporal and spatial distributions of Carcharias taurus (Rafinesque, 1810) in relation to maturity, sex and pregnancy status at 19 sites along Australia’s eastern coastline. Of 931 individual sharks identified between 2004 and 2008, 479 were female (271 mature, 208 immature) and 452 male (288 mature, 164 immature). Mature, non-gravid females and mature males were mostly observed in the southern to central parts of this species range, along the eastern coast of Australia, in early summer to early winter. These sharks subsequently moved northward, and mating occurred in late spring to early summer in waters off the coast of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. Pregnant C. taurus aggregated at Wolf Rock in southern Queensland, at the most northerly part of their known range, from late summer to early winter. These sharks subsequently migrated south to pup in central and southern waters of their range in late winter to late spring. Immature sharks of both sexes moved less than mature sharks, showed no synchronised migration patterns, and were mostly restricted to central and southern waters. The improved understanding of sex- and maturity-based migration of C. taurus provided here should facilitate a conservation strategy appropriate for this species in Australian waters.

Marine and Freshwater Research 62(6) 596-606

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