M. J. Gallagher1, C. P. Nolan, and F. Jeal
1 Current address: Irish Sea Fisheries Board (BIM), Crofton Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Zoology Department, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
Publication (Upload) date: 4 March 2005
GALLAGHER, M. J., C. P. NOLAN, and F. JEAL. 2005. The Structure and Growth Processes of Caudal Thorns. J. Northw. Atl. Fish. Sci., 35: 125-129. doi:10.2960/J.v35.m529
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Caudal thorns from bathyrajids (family Rajidae), for which surface band patterns have previously been correlated with an annual cycle of vertebral band deposition, were examined to ascertain the underlying growth band structure with a view to understanding their growth processes. Caudal thorn samples from Bathyraja brachyurops, a commercial ray species from the Falkland Islands were sectioned transversely using both resin embedding and decalcification/wax embedding procedures. Sectioning revealed that internal bands formed as a series of cones underlying each other, and that broad surface bands formed annually during periods of rapid somatic growth. Surface ridges representing a near stasis in somatic growth formed at the periphery of each cone. This proposed growth process was further verified by the incorporation of tetracycline at the periphery of caudal thorns from a tag-recaptured bathyrajid. The benefits of using sectioning to enhance band resolution of larger specimens of slower growing species, particularly in the case of worn and tightly spaced surface band patterns are also discussed.
Key words: age, growth, histology, Rajidae, rays, vertebrae
: GALLAGHER, M. J., C. P. NOLAN, and F. JEAL. 2005. The Structure and Growth Processes of Caudal Thorns.
: 125-129. doi:10.2960/J.v35.m529