Effects of endurance training in the leopard shark, Triakis semifasciata

Physiol Zool. Jul-Aug 1997;70(4):481-92. doi: 10.1086/515851.


This study is the first to examine the effects of endurance training in an elasmobranch fish. Twenty-four leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata) were divided randomly into three groups. Eight sharks were killed immediately, eight were forced to swim continuously for 6 wk against a current of 35 cm s-1 (60%-65% of maximal sustainable swimming speed), and eight were held for 6 wk in a tank without induced current. There were no changes due to training in maximal sustainable speed, oxygen consumption rates, percentage of the myotome composed of red and white muscle fibers, blood oxygen-carrying capacity, liver mass, liver lipid, glycogen, and protein concentrations, white muscle protein content, heart ventricle mass, or the specific activities of the enzymes citrate synthase, pyruvate kinase, and lactate dehydrogenase in the heart ventricle. In red myotomal muscle, citrate synthase activity increased 17% as a result of training, but there was no change in muscle fiber diameter. The greatest effects occurred in white myotomal muscle, in which a 34% increase in fiber diameter and a 36% increase in the activities of citrate synthase and lactate dehydrogenase occurred as a result of training. The conditioned fish also had significantly higher growth rates. The observed effects within the myotomal muscle may reflect the higher growth rates of the trained leopard sharks, or they may be a specific response to the increased energetic demands of the training activity, indicating characteristics that limit swimming performance in leopard sharks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemoglobins / chemistry
  • Muscle Fibers, Fast-Twitch / chemistry
  • Muscle Fibers, Fast-Twitch / cytology
  • Muscle Fibers, Fast-Twitch / enzymology
  • Myocardium / chemistry
  • Myocardium / cytology
  • Myocardium / enzymology
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal* / methods
  • Physical Exertion
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sharks / growth & development
  • Sharks / physiology*
  • Swimming
  • Tail / physiology


  • Hemoglobins