NEWSLETTER 1/2010      18. January 2010

-   Malgorzata Bienkowska-Wasiluk, Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

-   Dr. Simon Pierce, Lead Scientist, Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna Tofo Beach, Mozambique

-   Plamen Andreev, Sofia University, Bulgaria

-   Dr. Mikki McComb, Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, U.S.A. (Homepage)

-   Dr. Brad Wetherbee, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, U.S.A. (Homepage)

-   Dr. Christopher Lowe, Dept. of Biological Sciences, California State University Long Beach, U.S.A. (Homepage)

-   Dr. Samuel H. Gruber, Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries, University of Miami, U.S.A. (Homepage)

-   Dra. Edith Xio Mara García García, Departamento de Botánica y Zoología, Universidad de Guadalajara, México

-   Joseph D. Dibattista, Redpath Museum and Department of Biology, McGill University, Montréal, Canada

-   Dr. Rodolfo Vögler Santos, Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas (CICIMAR), La Paz, Baja California Sur, México

-   Javier Tovar-Ávila, Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

-   Dr. Kevin C. Weng, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, U.S.A.(Homepage)

-   Jonathan Sandoval Castillo, Molecular Ecology Lab, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

-   Carlos Julio Polo Silva, Posgrado de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (Biología Marina), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

16.01.2010: 400 new data, 253 new analysed papers

02.01.2010: 314 new data, 188 new analysed papers

21.12.2009: 217 new data, 155 new analysed papers

Sunday, 31. January 2010 (22:00)





If the paper of the first description is evaluated, you will now find a direct link of this paper by entering the database.



Currently this database contains 6.128 papers (3.845 about recent sharks, rays and chimaeras, 2.283 about fossil sharks,  rays and chimaeras). Out of this 6.128 papers, 2.283 papers had been evaluated, and there is the possibility of free downloading 604 papers.


Number of papers – year of publications:

Top Twenty of Journals

name of journal

number of papers



Environmental Biology of Fishes


Marine and Freshwater Research (formerly the Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research)


Journal of Fish Biology


Japanese Journal of Ichthyology


Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology


Fishery Bulletin




Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie


CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper


Journal of Morphology




California Fish and Game




Tertiary Research


Annals and Magazine of Natural History


Proceedings of the United States National Museum


Marine Biology


Journal of Paleontology


Bulletin of Marine Science








Chlamydoselachus africana



Hydrolagus melanophasma



Notoraja sapphira



Hemitriakis indroyonoi


Paleogene (Paläogen), Eocene (Eozän)

Xiphodolamia serrata


Triassic (Trias), Late Triassic (Obertrias)

Pseudodalatias henarejensis


Paleogene (Paläogen), Oligocene (Oligozän)

Raja mccollumi


Carboniferous (Karbon), Early Carboniferous (Unterkarbon)

Rainerichthys zangerli, Papilionichthys stahlae


Devonian (Devon), Late Devonian (Oberdevon)

Arduodens flammeus, Roongodus phijani


Carboniferous (Karbon), Late Carboniferous (Oberkarbon)

Orthacanthus donnelljohnsi, Triodus elpia


Jurassic (Jura), Late Jurassic (Oberjura)

Synechodus ungeri


Cretaceous (Kreide), Early Cretaceous (Unterkreide), Late Cretaceous (Oberkreide)

Cantioscyllium brachyplicatum, Platypterix venustulus, Ptychotrygon pustulata, Ptychotrygon striata, Iberotrygon plagiolophus

WANG, N.-Z. & ZHANG, X. & ZHU, M. & ZHAO, W.-J.

Permian (Perm), Late Permian (Oberperm)

Gansuselache tungseni



ANDREEV, P.S., 2009, Enameloid Microstructure of the Serrated Cutting Edges in Certain Fossil Carcharhiniform and Lamniform Sharks., Microscopy Research and Technique, in press

BOTELLA, H. & PLASENCIA, P. & MARQUEZ-ALIAGA, A. & CUNY, G. & DORKA, M., 2009, Pseudodalatias henarejensis nov. sp. a new pseudodalatiid (Elasmobranchii) from the Middle Triassic of Spain., Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29 (4): 1-7

ADNET, S. & HOSSEINZADEH, R. & ANTUNES, M.T. & BALBINO, A.C. & KOZLOV, V.A. & CAPPETTA, H., 2009, Review of the enigmatic Eocene shark genus Xiphodolamia (Chondrichthyes, Lamniformes) and description of a new species recovered from Angola, Iran and Jordan., Journal of African Earth Sciences, 55 (3-4): 197-204

KLUG, S., 2009, A New Palaeospinacid Shark (Chondrichthyes, Neoselachii) From the Upper Jurassic of Southern Germany., Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29 (2): 326-335



SEGURA, A.M. & MILESSI, A.C., 2009, Biological and reproductive characteristics of the Patagonian smoothhound Mustelus schmitti (Chondrichthyes, Triakidae) as documented from an artisanal fishery in Uruguay., Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 25 (1): 78-82

EBERT, D.A. & COMPAGNO, L.J.V., 2009, Chlamydoselachus africana, a new species of frilled shark from southern Africa (Chondrichthyes, Hexanchiformes, Chlamydoselachidae)., Zootaxa, 2173: 1-18

MORENO, F. & ACEVEDO, K. & GRIJALBA-BENDECK, M. & POLO-SILVA, C. & ACERO, A.P., 2009, Espectro trófico de la raya eléctrica Narcine bancroftii (Griffith & Smith 1834) (Elasmobranchii, Narcinidae) en playa Salguero, Santa Marta, Caribe Colombiano., Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences, 4 (4): 413-422

TOVAR-ÁVILA, J. & TROYNIKOV, V.S. & WALKER, T.I. & DAY, R.W., 2009, Use of stochastic models to estimate the growth of the Port Jackson shark, Heterodontus portusjacksoni, off eastern Victoria, Australia., Fisheries Research, 95: 230-235

TOVAR-ÁVILA,J. & ARENAS-FUENTES, V. & CHIAPPA-CARRARA, X., 2009, Edad y crecimiento del tiburón puntas negras, Carcharhinus limbatus, en el Golfo de México., Ciencia Pesquera, 17 (1): 47-58

NEWMAN, S.P. & HANDY, R.D. & GRUBER, S.H., 2009, Diet and prey preference of juvenile lemon sharks Negaprion brevirostris., Marine Ecology Progress Series, xxx: in press

GUTTRIDGE, T.L. & GRUBER, S.H. & GLEDHILL, K.S. & CROFT, D.P. & SIMS, D.W. & KRAUSE, J., 2009, Social preferences of juvenile lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris., Animal Behaviour, 78 (2): 543-548

MacNEIL, M.A. & CARLSON, J.K. & BEERKIRCHER, L.R., 2009, Shark depredation rates in pelagic longline fisheries: a case study from the Northwest Atlantic., ICES Journal of Marine Science, 66: 1-12

JORDAN, L.K. & KAJIURA, S.M. & GORDON, M.S., 2009, Functional consequences of structural differences in stingray sensory systems. Part I: mechanosensory lateral line canals., Journal of Experimental Biology, 212: 3037-3043

PAPASTAMATIOU, Y.P. & LOWE, C.G. & CASELLE, J.E. & FRIEDLANDER, A.M., 2009, Scale-dependent effects of habitat on movements and path structure of reef sharks at a predator-dominated atoll., Ecology, 90 (4): 996-1008

MEJÍA-FALLA, P.A. & NAVIA, A.F., 2009, New records of Urobatis tumbesensis (Chirichigno & McEachran, 1979) in the Tropical Eastern Pacific., Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences, 4 (3): 255-258

SEGURA, A.M. & MILESSI, A.C., 2009, Biological and reproductive characteristics of the Patagonian smoothhound Mustelus schmitti (Chondrichthyes, Triakidae as documented from an artisanal fishery in Uruguay., Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 25 (S1): 78-82

VÖGLER, R. & MILESSI, A.C. & DUARTE, L.O., 2009, Changes in trophic level of Squatina guggenheim with increasing body length: relationships with type, size and trophic level of its prey., Environmental Biology of Fishes, 84 (4): 41-52

AWRUCH, C.A. & PANKHURST, N.W. & FRUSHER, S.D. & STEVENS, J.D., 2009, Reproductive seasonality and embryo development in the draughtboard shark Cephaloscyllium laticeps., Marine and Freshwater Research, 60 (12): 1265-1272

FOWLER, G.M. & CAMPANA, S.E., 2009, Commercial by-catch rates of shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) from longline fisheries in the Canadian Atlantic., Collect. Vol. Sci. Pap. ICCAT, 64 (5): 1668-1676

WALLACE, S.S. & McFARLANE, G.A. & CAMPANA, S.E. & KING, J.R., 2009, Status of spiny dogfish in Atlantic and Pacific Canada., In: Gallucci, V. F., McFarlane, G. A., and Bargmann, G. G. [eds]. Biology and management of dogfish sharks. American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, Maryland: 313-334

CAMPANA, S.E. & JOYCE, W. & KULKA, D.W, 2009, Growth and reproduction of spiny dogfish off the eastern coast of Canada, including inferences on stock structure, In: Gallucci, V. F., McFarlane, G. A., and Bargmann, G. G. [eds]. Biology and management of dogfish sharks. American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, Maryland: 195-208

WOOD, A.D. & WETHERBEE, B.M. & JUANES, F. & KOHLER, N.E. & WILGA, C. , 2009, Recalculated diet and daily ration of the shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), with a focus on quantifying predation on bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) in the northwest Atlantic Ocean., Fishery Bulletin, 107 (1): 76-88

FREITAS, R.H.A. & ROSA, R.S. & WETHERBEE, B.M. & GRUBER, S.H., 2009, Population size and survivorship for juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) on their nursery grounds at a marine protected area in Brazil., Neotropical Ichthyology, 7 (2): 205-212

TRICAS, T.C. & KAJIURA, S.M. & SUMMERS, A.P., 2009, Response of the hammerhead shark olfactory epithelium to amino acid stimuli., Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, 195: 947-954

RICHARDS, V.P. & HENNING, M. & WITZELL, W. & SHIVJI, M.S., 2009, Species Delineation and Evolutionary History of the Globally Distributed Spotted Eagle Ray (Aetobatus narinari)., Journal of Heredity, 100 (3): 273-283

PORTER, M.E. & ROQUE, C.M. & LONG, J.H., 2009, Turning Maneuvers in Sharks: Predicting Body Curvature From Axial Morphology., Journal of Morphology, 270: 954-965

STORRIE, M.T. & WALKER, T.I. & LAURENSON, L.J. & HAMLETT, W.C., 2009, Gestational Morphogenesis of the Uterine Epithelium of the Gummy Shark (Mustelus antarcticus)., Journal of Morphology, 270: 319-336

PAPASTAMATIOU, Y.P. & CASELLE, J.E. & FRIEDLANDER, A.M. & LOWE, C.G., 2009, Distribution, size frequency, and sex ratios of blacktip reef sharks Carcharhinus melanopterus at Palmyra Atoll: a predator-dominated ecosystem., Journal of Fish Biology, 75 (3): 647-654

REEVE, A. & HANDY, R.D. & GRUBER, S.H., 2009, Prey selection and functional response of juvenile lemon sharks Negaprion brevirostris., Journal of Fish Biology, 75 (1): 276-281

McPHIE, R.P. & CAMPANA, S.E., 2009, Reproductive characteristics and population decline of four species of skate (Rajidae) off the eastern coast of Canada., Journal of Fish Biology, 75 (1): 223-246

AIRES-DA-SILVA, A.M. & MAUNDER, M.N. & GALLUCCI, V.F. & KOHLER, N.E. & HOEY, J.J., 2009, A spatially structured tagging model to estimate movement and fishing mortality rates for the blue shark (Prionace glauca) in the North Atlantic Ocean., Marine and Freshwater Research, 60 (10): 1029-1043

CERNA, F. & LICANDEO, R., 2009, Age and growth of the shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) in the south-eastern Pacific off Chile., Marine and Freshwater Research, 60 (5): 394-403

WYNEN, L. & LARSON, H. & THORBURN, D. & PEVERELL, S. & MORGAN, D. & FIELD, I. & GIBB, K., 2009, Mitochondrial DNA supports the identification of two endangered river sharks (Glyphis glyphis and Glyphis garricki) across northern Australia., Marine and Freshwater Research, 60 (6): 554-562

HUSSEY, N.E. & McCARTHY, I.D. & DUDLEY, S.F.J. & MANN, B.Q., 2009, Nursery grounds, movement patterns and growth rates of dusky sharks, Carcharhinus obscurus: a long-term tag and release study in South African waters, Marine and Freshwater Research, 60 (6): 571-583

MEEKAN, M.G. & JARMAN, S.N. & McLEAN, C. & SCHULTZ, M.B., 2009, DNA evidence of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) feeding on red crab (Gecarcoidea natalis) larvae at Christmas Island, Australia., Marine and Freshwater Research, 60 (6): 607-609

TOVAR-ÁVILA, J. & IZZO, C. & WALKER, T.I. & BRACCINI, J.M. & DAY, R.W., 2009, Assessing growth band counts from vertebrae and dorsal-fin spines for ageing sharks: comparison of four methods applied to Heterodontus portusjacksoni., Marine and Freshwater Research, 60 (9): 898-903




From Dr. Simon Pierce, Lead Scientist, Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna, Tofo Beach, Mozambique,

We're entering into a very busy fieldwork period over here in Mozambique, so before we disappear underwater for the next few months we thought we'd provide an update on our research and activities during the latter half of 2009. We've just posted our January 2010 research newsletter online at the address below:

Please click on the link to download it (we didn't want to attach it to the email, as large documents tend to crash internet connections here in Africa!). Sorry if you haven't heard from us in a while. We've just transitioned our contact database over to a new system to make it much easier to contact everyone at once in the future. We collated several years worth of email addresses for this effort, so please accept our apologies if you're no longer interested in receiving updates. If you could just reply to this message with 'unsuscribe' in the subject heading I'll remove you immediately.

That's not the only change that has occurred recently. Our awesome new website, designed for us by Colin Cherot, is now online at We're still updating the information therein and developing new content, so please check in occasionally to see how things evolve. We also have a new Facebook page for day-to-day updates for the social networkers out there, take a look at For those of you with whale shark adoptees, I am currently linking my entire whale shark database with the global whale shark database ( so stay tuned for automatic updates on your shark's adventures in the near future.




Clever stingray fish use tools to solve problems

13 January 2010

Freshwater stingrays use water as a "tool" in problem-solving tests, scientists reveal for the first time.

Researchers gave South American freshwater stingrays tests to evaluate their problem-solving ability.

The stingrays learned to use jets of water as a tool to extract a meal of hidden food from a plastic pipe.

It reveals that the fish, once thought a "simple reflex animal", has cognitive abilities to rival birds, reptiles and mammals, scientists say.

Scientists from Israel, Austria and the US publish their study in the journal Animal Cognition.

Freshwater stingrays, found in many tropical waters such as the Amazon river, are related to ocean stingrays. Like sharks, they have skeletons made of cartilage, rather the bony skeletons of less closely related teleost fish.

In the past, scientists have assumed that such cartilaginous fish have limited cognitive abilities, in part because they have been difficult to study, says Dr Michael Kuba from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel who undertook the latest study.

His team tested the ability of captive South American stingrays (Potamotrygon castexi) to solve problems, by setting them a series of underwater tasks.

Using a plastic pipe with one end sealed and containing hidden food, researchers observed how the fish overcame the challenge of getting the meal from the container.

They also tested the fish to see if it could discriminate between black and white ends of the tube.

The stingrays not only performed the tasks well but also demonstrated a range of problem-solving strategies, including using water as a "tool" to obtain the hidden reward.

"Tool use in fish is far from anything seen in birds or mammals, " explains Dr Kuba.

Dr Kuba says that the definition of tool use, using an agent to achieve a goal, was set by cognitive scientist Dr Benjamin Beck in 1980.

The stingrays meet this definition by using water as a tool, manipulating their bodies to create a flow of water that moves food towards them.

At least one other fish species is known to use water in a similar way.

The archer fish, a teleost, shoots spurts of water from its mouth to dislodge prey from leaves above the water's surface.

"Archer fish use water as a projectile to hunt insects," says Dr Kuba.

Like the archer fish, the stingrays also use jets of water to dislodge food stuck among plants on the surface of the fish tank, a behaviour caught on video by the researchers.

Previously, stingrays have largely been on the sidelines of cognitive research for a number of reasons, says Dr Kuba.

"Firstly, they are bigger and more difficult to study than other model animals such as zebra fish, guppies or mice," he says.

"Second, they, like sharks, have often been considered to be reflex machines having very acute senses but limited cognitive capacities."

"What our study shows is that stingrays are capable of problem solving," he says.

Dr Kuba also suggests that research on stingrays may reveal important aspects of the vertebrate thought process.

"They are members of one of the oldest lines of vertebrates and to know more about their abilities will help us to learn more about the evolution of cognition in vertebrates."

mit Filmsequenzen:


Story of 4.5-Million-Year-Old Whale Found in Spain

ScienceDaily (Dec. 22, 2009) — In 2006, a team of Spanish and American researchers found the fossil remains of a whale, 4.5 million years old, in Bonares, Huelva. Now they have published, for the first time, the results of the decay and fossilisation process that started with the death of the young cetacean, possibly a baleen whale from the Mysticeti group.

This is not the first discovery of the partial fossil remains of a whale from the Lower Pliocene (five million years ago) in the Huelva Sands sedimentary formation, but it is the first time that the results of the processes of fossilisation and fossil deposition following the death of a whale have been published.

The work of this international group, published in the latest issue of Geologica Acta, is the first taphonomic (fossilisation process) study done on cetacean remains combined with other paleontological disciplines such as ichnology (the study of trace fossils).

"Once the whale was dead, its body was at the mercy of scavengers such as sharks, and we know that one of these voracious attacks resulted in one of its fins being pulled off and moved about ten metres. It remained in this position in the deposit studied," Fernando Muñiz, one of the study's authors and a researcher in the University of Huelva's "Tectonics and Paleontology" research group, currently working as a palaeontologist for the City Council of Lepe, in Huelva, said.

The researchers have described the fossil remains discovered in Bonares, Huelva, at an altitude of 80 metres above sea level and 24 kilometres from the sea, and have studied the main taxonomic characteristics and associated fauna. The team also created a paleoenvironmental model to explain how the skeleton -- which is incomplete apart from some pieces such as its three-metre-long hemimandibular jaw bones -- was deposited.

The results show that these remains came from a "juvenile whale that died and became buried on the sea floor, at a depth of around 30-50 metres, and were subject to intense activity by invertebrate and vertebrate scavengers (as can be seen from the presence of numerous shark teeth associated with the bones)," says Muñiz. Based on the remains studied, it is hard for the researchers to say whether the cause of death was illness, old age, or attack by a larger predator.

In terms of its taxonomic description, the researchers say this is "difficult," although the morphology of the scapula (shoulder blade) suggests it is "from the Balaenopteridae (rorqual) family, belonging to the group of baleen whales from the Mysticeti sub-order," says the paleontologist.

Dead bodies as a source of nutrients

The occasional presence of a cetacean corpse on the sea floor represents an exceptional provision of nutrients for various ecological communities. According to recent studies of current-day phenomena, four ecological phases associated with whales have been recognised "that can be partially recognised in the fossil record" -- the presence of mobile scavengers (sharks and bony fish), opportunists (especially polychaetes and crustaceans), sulphophilic extremophiles (micro organisms) and hard coral.

Once the bones deposited on the sea floor, free of organic material, were exposed, bivalve molluscs of the species Neopycnodonte cochlear colonised them. The presence of these bivalves suggests that the process to transform the biological remains after death was "relatively lengthy before it was definitively buried," explains the researcher.

"The fat and other elements resulting from the decomposition of the organic material would have enriched the sediment around and above the body, and this can be seen in the numerous burrowing structures in this sediment, created by endobiotic organisms, such as crustaceans and polychaete annelids," adds Muñíz. The bones were also "used," not only as a base to which these could attach themselves, but also as food.

According to the paleontologists, the presence of bioerosion structures indicates that the contents of the bones were used as an extraordinary source of nutrients, possibly by decapod crustaceans. This would be the first known evidence in the fossil record of a whale bone being consumed by decapod crustaceans with osteophagic feeding habits. The material is currently undergoing in-depth analysis by the authors of the study.

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Story Source:

Adapted from materials provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Journal Reference:

Esperante, R., Muñiz Guinea, F., and Nick, K.E. Taphonomy of a Mysticeti whale in the Lower Pliocene Huelva Sands Formation (Southern Spain). Geologica Acta, 7(4): 489-504, December 2009