Scientia Marina, Vol 73, No 2 (2009)

Reproductive biology and diet of Mustelus punctulatus (Risso, 1826) (Chondrichthyes: Triakidae) from the Gulf of Gabès, central Mediterranean Sea

Bechir Saïdi
Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer, Centre de Sfax , Tunisia

Mohamed Nejmeddine Bradaï
Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer, Centre de Sfax , Tunisia

Abderrahman Bouaïn
Faculté des Sciences de Sfax , Tunisia


Specimens of Mustelus punctulatus were collected between January 2002 and December 2005 from commercial fisheries in the Gulf of Gabès (central Mediterranean Sea). Males and females reached a maximum total length (TL) of 111 and 122 cm respectively. Males matured between 76 and 88.5 cm TL, with a size at maturity (TL50) of 81.4 cm TL. Females matured between 88 and 100 cm TL with a TL50 of 95.6 cm. Females had an annual reproductive cycle. Mating occurred through late-May and June. Ovulation occurred from early July to mid-August with parturition occurring from mid-May to early June, after a gestation period of 11 months. The size at birth was estimated to be 24.5 to 30.5 cm TL. Positive linear relationships were detected between the TL of mature females and ovarian and uterine fecundities. Mustelus punctulatus is an opportunistic predator that consumes a wide range of demersal and benthic prey items. It preys mainly on crustaceans, teleosts and molluscs. Polychaetes, sipunculids, echinoderms and tunicates are also consumed. The species change their main food item as they grow, from crustaceans to teleosts then to molluscs.


Mustelus punctulatus; reproduction; feeding habits; elasmobranchs; Mediterranean

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