Steroid hormones and chondrichthyan reproduction: Physiological functions, scientific research, and implications for conservation

Edgar Eduardo Becerril-García, Marcial Arellano-Martínez, Daniela Bernot-Simon, Edgar Mauricio Hoyos-Padilla, Felipe Galván-Magaña, Céline Godard-Codding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The study of the reproductive aspects of chondrichthyans through the analysis of steroid hormones has been carried out for more than five decades in several species around the world. This scientific knowledge constitutes the basis of the reproductive endocrinology of chondrichthyans, which has provided information regarding their sexual maturation, gametogenesis, mating seasons, gestation periods, and parturition. The present review summarises the existing literature on steroid hormones in chondrichthyan reproduction and identifies future research directions addressing critical knowledge gaps in the reproductive physiology of this taxon. A total of 59 peer reviewed scientific papers from 1963 to 2020 were reviewed and the following parameters analysed: species, steroid hormones, biological matrix, field sampling (year, location), and methodology (assays, sample size, precision, and recoveries). We provided a summary of the methods, biological matrices, and the functions of up to 19 hormones on the biology of 34 species of chondrichthyans that have been analysed to date. The majority of the studies used radioimmunoassay as the main methodology (76.3%; n = 45/49); while the most frequent biological matrix used was plasma (69.5%; n = 41/49). A Kernel's heat map was generated to present the scientific effort according to geographic location and evidenced a lack of research in high biodiversity areas for chondrichthyans worldwide. The implications of the study of steroid hormones for the conservation of chondrichthyans are discussed, as only 2.9% of the species of this group have been analysed and most of the scientific effort (93.2%; n = 55/59 papers) has focused on the analysis of less than six hormones.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9686
StatePublished - 2020


  • Biological matrices
  • Cartilaginous fishes
  • Fish endocrinology
  • Hormones
  • Methods
  • Reproductive biology
  • Scientific effort


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