Chondrichthyan Reproduction

John A. Musick

in Reproduction and Sexuality in Marine Fishes

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780520264335
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947979 | DOI:
Chondrichthyan Reproduction

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Reproduction in marine fishes exhibits a remarkable level of biological diversity and sophistication. Nowhere is this more evident than in the chondrichthyans, which share the character of an entirely cartilaginous skeleton and constitute one of the two major groups of extant fishes. Chondrichthyans diverged from bony fishes early in the evolutionary history of jawed vertebrates. Since this divergence, their reproductive biology has evolved along several highly specialized and diverse pathways. Chondrichthyan reproductive evolution has been based on lecithotrophic viviparity (that is, yolk provides the sole source of nutrients during development), matrotrophy (that is, nutrients include maternally derived supplements), and in a small number of clades, oviparity with protective leathery egg cases. This chapter examines reproductive diversity in this group from a phylogenetic perspective. In doing so, it provides a wealth of detail regarding reproductive mode and morphology, and offers strong support for hypothesized ancestral reproductive states and more recently derived reproductive traits within the taxon. First, the chapter describes the chondrichthyan reproductive system, and then discusses the group's reproductive modes and elasmobranch phylogeny.

Keywords: reproduction; marine fishes; chondrichthyans; reproductive biology; lecithotrophic viviparity; matrotrophy; oviparity; reproductive diversity; reproductive system; phylogeny

Chapter.  5857 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aquatic Biology

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