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Revista de Biología Tropical

On-line version ISSN 0034-7744Print version ISSN 0034-7744


CARRILLO, Luz; TAVARES, Rafael; SANCHEZ, Leonardo  and  VELASQUEZ, Carmen. Age and growth of the smalleye smooth-hound shark, Mustelus higmani (Carcharhiniformes: Triakidae) from the Venezuelan Caribbean. Rev. biol. trop [online]. 2020, vol.68, n.4, pp.1211-1220. ISSN 0034-7744.


Mustelus higmani is one of the shark species most commonly caught in the Northeastern region of Venezuela; however, this species has been poorly studied.


To evaluate the age and growth of M. higmani on the basis of the optical analysis of vertebrae.


Between August 2016 and July 2017, the vertebral samples were collected in the fishing port of Juan Griego, Margarita Island. The growth study was based on a sample of 238 individuals, 86 males (24.1-59.5 cm TL) and 152 females (24.4-69.5 cm TL) and the use of VBGF modeling approach.


The RMI analysis suggested an annual periodicity for the deposition of growth rings. Ages assigned varied between 0 and 5 years in males, and between 0 and 6 years in females. The estimates of VBGF parameters were L ¥ = 60.4 cm TL, k = 0.53 years-1 and t 0 = -1.02 years in males; and L ¥ = 71.1 cm TL, k = 0.38 years-1 and t 0 = -1.17 years in females. The ages at maturity and longevities resulted respectively in 2.6 and 6.6 years for males; and in 2.1 and 9.0 years for females.


In general, results indicate that M. higmani has a rapid growth, early maturity, short longevity, and annual reproductive cycle, characterizing it as a biologically productive species.

Keywords : biology; Caribbean; ecology; elasmobranchs; fishery; sharks.

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