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Journal Article

Rate of Tooth Replacement in the Nurse Shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum

Carl A. Luer, Patricia C. Blum and Perry W. Gilbert
Copeia
Vol. 1990, No. 1 (Mar. 6, 1990), pp. 182-191
DOI: 10.2307/1445834
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1445834
Page Count: 10

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Topics: Sharks, Teeth, Nurses, Water temperature, Animals, Jaw, Animal teeth, Cold water, Dentition, Species
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Rate of Tooth Replacement in the Nurse Shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum
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Abstract

Three juvenile nurse sharks, Ginglymostoma cirratum, were examined weekly for 3 yr to document rates at which teeth, marked by clipping the cusps of newly exposed teeth, moved from the innermost to the outermost row and were eventually shed. Following the shedding of marked teeth, additional sets of newly exposed teeth were clipped and monitored throughout the study period. Rates of tooth replacement did not decrease with increasing size as the animal aged from approx. 3-6 yr of age, but rather varied during each year depending upon water temperature. Fastest rates occurred in summer months (water temperature 27-29 C) when a row was shed every 9-21 d. Winter water temperatures resulted in slower rates with the coldest winter (water temperature 19-22 C) producing the slowest rates of 51-70 d/row. The order in which teeth were shed from the outer row did not follow a consistent pattern; tooth loss may initiate near the jaw articulation, at or near the symphysis, or at varying sites in between.

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