Evaluating ultrasonography as a non-lethal method for the assessment of maturity in oviparous elasmobranchs

Jonathan M. Whittamore, Craig Bloomer, Grainne M. Hanna, Ian D. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Due to the impacts of commercial fishing on elasmobranchs, future research and management necessitates reliable and accurate information on life history. For females, maturity assessment is limited to dissection, and it is not desirable to be removing large numbers in order to assess the reproductive characteristics of a population. The present study evaluated ultrasonography as a potential, non-lethal method for assessing the maturity status of two oviparous elasmobranchs, the thornback ray (Raja clavata) and small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula). Ultrasound permitted visualisation and measurement of the ovary in R. clavata, and the shell gland, ovarian follicles and egg capsules within the oviducts for S. canicula. With the exception of the ovary in R. clavata, the dimensions of these structures on the sonograms were directly corroborated by in situ measurements, and ultrasound was verified as an accurate and reliable method of making quantitative and qualitative assessments of these internal reproductive structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2613-2624
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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