Thermal imaging reveals changes in body surface temperatures of blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) during air exposure

Natascha Wosnick*, Carlos A. Navas, Yuri V. Niella, Emygdio L. A. Monteiro-Filho, Carolina Arruda Freire, Neil Hammerschlag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Fish physiology is significantly affected by temperature variability. During fisheries interactions, fish are often exposed to air and subjected to rapid temperature changes. Fish thermal dynamics during such exposure, and the possible outcomes to their physiology, depend on how heat is distributed across their bodies, the speed at which their body temperatures change, and the size of the individual. Nevertheless, such thermal patterns remain unknown for sharks. This study employed a novel application of thermal imaging to evaluate external body temperature profiles of blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) above-water exposure after capture. We found that above-water exposure duration, shark total length, and air temperature on the day of capture significantly influenced body surface temperatures of the analyzed sharks (N=28). Body surface temperature significantly increased with increasing exposure; however, thermal profiles of immature sharks (<140 cm) were significantly warmer than those of mature sharks. Moreover, blacktip surface body temperatures were significantly higher during days when air temperatures were at least 2.5°C warmer than water temperatures. We discuss these results as they relate to the ecology of blacktip sharks and their potential vulnerability to fisheries capture due to such changes in peripheral body temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1012
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiological and Biochemical Zoology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • conservation physiology
  • fishing physiology
  • thermal stress
  • infrared thermography
  • elasmobranch
  • Fishing physiology
  • Infrared thermography
  • Thermal stress
  • Conservation physiology
  • Elasmobranch

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