Growth and metabolism in embryonic white spotted bamboo sharks, Chiloscyllium plagiosum: Comparison with embryonic birds and reptiles

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2000

Publication Title

Physiological and Biochemical Zoology




Birds and reptiles have been important models for studying the energetics of embryonic development. Studies on these groups reveal three metabolic patterns: an exponential increase in metabolism with embryo age, a sigmoidal increase with age, or a sigmoidal increase followed by a decrease before hatching. Models developed to explain avian metabolic patterns and developmental costs partition total costs between growth and maintenance. To test the generality of these models, we examined embryonic energetics of the oviparous white?spotted bamboo shark Chiloscyllium plagiosum. Oviparous sharks must actively ventilate during development, which could increase their development costs relative to birds and reptiles. Our results demonstrated that bamboo shark embryos have a peaked metabolic pattern and sigmoidal increase in body mass similar to ratites, crocodilians, and some turtles. The total cost of development was higher in bamboo sharks than in reptiles and many birds. However, calculations reveal that the high cost of bamboo shark development can be explained by the relatively long incubation time rather than the additional cost of muscular movement. Finally, an avian model can reasonably describe shark embryonic metabolism, suggesting that movement costs do not significantly alter the metabolic pattern during development.