Volume 143, Issue 3 p. 732-743
Article

Age and Growth of the Bull Shark in the Western North Atlantic Ocean

Lisa J. Natanson

Corresponding Author

Lisa J. Natanson

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, 28 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, Rhode Island, 02882 USA

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Douglas H. Adams

Douglas H. Adams

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 1220 Prospect Avenue 285, Melbourne, Florida, 32901 USA

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Megan V. Winton

Megan V. Winton

Coonamessett Farm Foundation, 277 Hatchville Road, East Falmouth, Massachusetts, 02536 USA

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Jasmine R. Maurer

Jasmine R. Maurer

Kachemak Bay Research Reserve, 95 Sterling Highway, Suite 2, Homer, Alaska, 99603 USA

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First published: 30 April 2014
Citations: 28

Abstract

Age and growth estimates for the Bull Shark Carcharhinus leucas were derived from 121 vertebral centra collected from Bull Sharks (59.1–223.5cm FL) between 1966 and 2010 in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Size at birth was confirmed with an additional 20 embryos (44.2–54.4cm FL). The maximum age based on vertebral band pair counts was 25 (184cm FL) and 27 (196cm FL) years for males and females, respectively. The logistic and Gompertz growth models fitted the size-at-age data best for males and females, respectively. Based on previously published estimates of length at maturity, males mature at 15–17years (176–185cm FL) and females at 15years (189cm FL). Bull Sharks in the western North Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico have similar growth rates and reach similar sizes at age.