Ultrasonography as a promising methodology to indicate captured-induced abortion in viviparous elasmobranchs
This study aimed to characterize morphological aspects related to abortion through a non-lethal approach in the shortnose guitarfish Zapteryx brevirostris, an endemic and threatened species commonly caught by artisanal fisheries. Two females with signs of abortion and one female exhibiting external signs of pregnancy were purchased alive at a fish market during the period when this species has developing embryos in southern Brazil. Scans were conducted using a portable ultrasound. Females with signs of abortion revealed an absence of embryos despite having a similar morphology of the uterus when compared to the pregnant female. Examination of the pregnant female revealed the presence of two embryos, measuring c. 100 mm, each detected through their midline. This study presents new data on uterine macromorphology following successive abortive events in a viviparous elasmobranch species and validates ultrasonography as a diagnostic tool for the species. Ultrasonography is an effective, non-lethal and less-invasive methodology that is recommended for use in future studies of abortion and other reproductive events in elasmobranchs.