Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Refuging behaviour in the nursehound Scyliorhinus stellaris (Chondrichthyes: Elasmobranchii): preliminary evidence from acoustic telemetry

D.W.  Sims a1c1, E.J.  Southall a1, V.J.  Wearmouth a1, N.  Hutchinson a1, G.C.  Budd a1 and D.  Morritt a2
a1 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, PL1 2PB, UK
a2 School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, TW20 0EX, UK

Article author query
sims dw   [Medline] [Google Scholar
southall ej   [Medline] [Google Scholar
wearmouth vj   [Medline] [Google Scholar
hutchinson n   [Medline] [Google Scholar
budd gc   [Medline] [Google Scholar
morritt d   [Medline] [Google Scholar


The tendency for marine fish to refuge in natural and artificial structures underwater is well documented, but the incidence of this behaviour among predatory sharks is not widely known. A sub-adult male nursehound Scyliorhinus stellaris was tracked by intermittent acoustic telemetry over 168 days in a tidal sea lough. This individual, in-between undertaking nocturnal foraging excursions, refuged in at least five different narrow-entrance holes. Refuge location was validated by underwater and surface observations during which time other nursehounds (sub-adult male and female), were also seen refuging, sometimes together. This indicates nursehound display philopatric behaviour centred on aggregation in ‘home’ refuges that, in this case, were labyrinthine rock systems.

(Received March 21 2005)
(Accepted August 15 2005)

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