Shark centra microanatomy and mineral density variation studied with laboratory microComputed Tomography

Paul E. Morse, Michala K. Stock, Kelsey C. James, Lisa J. Natanson, Stuart R. Stock*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Centra of shark vertebrae from three species of Lamniformes (Alopias vulpinus, Carcharodon carcharias and Isurus oxyrinchus) and three species of Carcharhiniformes (Carcharhinus plumbeus, Carcharhinus obscurus and Prionace glauca) were imaged with laboratory microcomputed Tomography (microCT) using volume element (voxel) sizes between 16 and 24 µm. Linear attenuation coefficients were the same in the corpus calcarea (hour-glass-shaped cone) and intermedialia of the lamniforms but were smaller in the intermedialia than in the corpus calcarea of the carcharhiniforms. All centra contained growth bands which were visible as small changes in linear attenuation coefficient. In all six cases, the cross-sections of the cones were close to circular, and the cone angles matched those reported in the literature. Cartilage canals were a prominent structure in the intermedialia of all species, 3D renderings of centra of C. obscurus and I. oxyrinchus diameters showed these canals ran radially outward from the cone walls, and canal diameters were consistent with the limited numerical values in the literature. Somewhat higher calcification levels around the periphery of cartilage canals and of outer surfaces of the intermedialia and corpus calcerea suggest microstructural variation exists at scale below that which can be resolved in the present data sets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107831
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Carcharhiniformes
  • Centra
  • Lamniformes
  • Shark
  • Vertebra
  • microComputed Tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology


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