Pleuragramma antarctica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Nototheniidae

Scientific Name: Pleuragramma antarctica Boulenger, 1902
Common Name(s):
English Antarctic Silverfish, Antarctic Herring
French Calandre Antarctique
Spanish Diablillo antarctico, Diablillo antártico
Pleuragramma antarcticum Boulenger, 1902

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-02-04
Assessor(s): Gon, O. & Vacchi, M.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Chenery, A. & Ram, M.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H., Lutz, M., Batchelor, A., Jopling, B., Kemp, K., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Smith, J. & Livingston, F.
Pleuragramma antarctica has been assessed as Least Concern. This species has no major threats acting against it at present, and it has been reported to be the most dominant pelagic fish species in areas of its broad distribution. Because this species plays an important role in the Antarctic ecosystem food web, continued monitoring of the population numbers is needed. It is not commercially harvested.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Pleuragramma antarctica has a circumantarctic distribution which includes the Weddell Sea, Bellingshausen, Ross Sea, Davis Sea, Oates, Adelie, Wilhelm, Prydz Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland and the South Orkney Islands.
Countries occurrence:
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – Antarctic; Indian Ocean – Antarctic; Pacific – Antarctic
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):728
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Pleuragramma antarctica is described as dominant in the Weddell Sea (Ekau 1990). Guglielmo et al. (1998) describe it as the most dominant pelagic fish in the high Antarctic. It represents about 98% of the total nototheniid ichthyoplankton of the Weddell Sea (Keller 1983). The overwhelming dominance of P. antarcticum is well documented in the Ross Sea and Weddell Sea, accounting for over 90% of the local fish community in number and biomass (DeWitt 1970, Hubold and Ekau 1987). Abundances of postlarvae reach as high as 27,075 specimens per 100 m3 in the Ross Sea.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Pleuragramma antarctica is regarded as the only truly pelagic fish species in Antarctic waters. Specimens have been collected over mud and sandy mud bottoms, however the morphometrics of this species indicates that it does not feed on the benthos. This species has a depth range of 0-728 m, with the larvae and postlarvae occurring at a depth range of 0-135 m; juveniles at 50-400 m and adults are found at depths below 400 m. All of this vertical distribution is throughout the Antarctic continental shelf (O. Gon pers. comm. 2009).This species predominantly feeds on krill and copepods, however amphipods, euphausiids, molluscs, polychaetes, chaetognaths and ostracods are also part of its diet. Pleuragramma antarctica may also switch to cannibalism in the absence of an adequate food supply. This species inhabits both open waters and areas of pack ice in mid-water.

With its wide distribution and high numbers, P. antarctica forms a major part of the diet of most large Antarctic predators. This species is an important part of the cryopelagic feeding community (Hureau 1994). It is very slow growing and takes considerable time to reach maturity. Considering its importance, a significant decline in population numbers could have severe ecological ramifications.

Spawning possibly occurs in August-September (Kock and Kellermann 1991).
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: At present this species is not commercially exploited.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is unlikely that any major threat is impacting P. antarctica. At present this species is not commercially exploited. The Former Soviet Union has reported catches of P. antarctica four times between 1977 and 1983 (approximately 1,000 t per year). Due to the prominent role of this species in the Antarctic ecosystem food web, any attempts to exploit this fish species in the future will be cautiously approached according to the CCAMLR (Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) rules.

Larvae and juveniles are captured as by-catch in krill fisheries, but this is not considered a major threat (O. Gon pers. comm. 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for Pleuragramma antarctica, however the area in which this species is found is managed by CCAMLR. The convention was established due to concerns on increasing fishing pressure on krill and the impact this may pose to other marine organisms.

Monitoring of the population numbers of this species is needed.

Citation: Gon, O. & Vacchi, M. 2010. Pleuragramma antarctica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154785A4633007. . Downloaded on 23 September 2018.
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