Sexual dimorphisms in the dermal structure of the lesser-spotted catshark, Scyliorhinus canicula (Linnaeus, 1758)

N. Crooks, Colin Waring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sexual dimorphisms in the dermal structures of two elasmobranch species have previously been reported and it has been linked to the use of the mouth by males during copulation. Until relatively recently, the fact, that male Scyliorhinus canicula use their mouths for grasping and biting females during copulation was unknown. This study reveals that not only do adult (M ≥ 525 mm, F ≥ 550 mm) S. canicula show a sexual dimorphism in the epidermis and dermis, but that hatchling S. canicula are born with a sexually dimorphic epidermal layer and this persists into the juvenile stage (M < 525 mm, F < 550 mm). A sexual dimorphism was found in all size classes with both hatchling and juvenile female S. canicula having significantly thicker epidermal layers than hatchling and juvenile male S. canicula. Adult female S. canicula were found to possess both a significantly thicker epidermal and dermal layer than adult male S. canicula. The presence of a sexual dimorphism in the epidermal and dermal layers of adult S. canicula could be directly related to reproductive behaviour in response to the male biting the female prior to copulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4 pp
Number of pages4
JournalActa Zoologica
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

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