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Torpedo torpedo

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES RAJIFORMES TORPEDINIDAE

Scientific Name: Torpedo torpedo
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Ocellate Torpedo, Common Torpedo
French Torpille Ocellée
Spanish Tremolina Común
Synonym(s):
Raja torpedo Linnaeus 1758
Torpedo ocellata Rafinesque, 1810,

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2003-09-30
Annotations:
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Serena, F., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G. & Ungaro, N.
Reviewer(s): Cavanagh, R.D., Valenti, S.V. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
This electric ray occurs in the eastern Atlantic, from the southern Bay of Biscay, south to Angola and in the Mediterranean Sea. The Ocellate Torpedo (Torpedo torpedo) is primarily coastal, found in inshore waters, although occasionally found to depths of >300 m. The species is apparently more common in southern Mediterranean waters than in the northern Mediterranean. Trawl survey data available from the northern Mediterranean indicate that the Ocellate Torpedo is less common than other Torpedo species in this area. Few data are currently available from throughout the rest of the species’ range. This species is taken as bycatch in demersal fisheries, including coastal artisanal fisheries, trawls and trammel nets, although no specific data are available on its capture and it is most likely discarded at sea. Post discard survival may be relatively high because it is often caught in shallow waters. At present insufficient data are available to assess this species beyond Data Deficient globally. Demersal fishing pressure is relatively intensive in large areas of its range and there is a need to further investigate the impact of fisheries and habitat pressures on this species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Eastern Atlantic, including Mediterranean Sea: occurs from the southern Bay of Biscay (records as far north as Belgium are questionable), south to Angola. Also occurs throughout the Mediterranean Sea (Whitehead et al. 1984).
Countries:
Native:
Albania; Algeria; Angola (Angola, Angola, Cabinda); Benin; Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Egypt (Egypt (African part)); Equatorial Guinea (Equatorial Guinea (mainland)); France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Greece (East Aegean Is., Greece (mainland), Kriti); Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Israel; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sardegna, Sicilia); Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Mauritania; Montenegro; Morocco; Nigeria; Portugal (Portugal (mainland)); Senegal; Serbia (Serbia, Serbia); Sierra Leone; Spain (Baleares, Canary Is., Spain (mainland)); Syrian Arab Republic; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia); Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – southeast; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In the Mediterranean Sea, this species is more common along the northern African (southern Mediterranean) coasts. Surveys in the northern Mediterranean Sea suggest that it is uncommon and less abundant than T. marmorata there. Standardized index of abundance in Italian ‘Grund’ trawl surveys ranged from 0.01 to 0.1 specimens per hour (Ferretti unpublished analyses). Torpedo torpedo was recorded in 28 of 6,336 hauls conducted during MEDITS trawl surveys in the northern Mediterranean Sea, from 1994-1999 at depths of 10-800 m (Baino et al. 2001). The species is rare around the Balearic Islands. In some regions T. torpedo was recorded in the past but now are under detectable levels by trawl surveys. For example in the Adriatic sea (northern Mediterranean), it was reported as rare in species lists but has not been recorded in recent trawl surveys (Ninni, 1912, Jukic-Peladic et al. 2001). The species has been recorded in trawl surveys along the western coast of Africa (Gulyugin et al. 2006), but virtually no other information is currently available from throughout the rest of the species range.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This benthic ray is common in tropical waters, found on soft substrates, usually inshore, but also down to 70m or occasionally to depths of >300 m (Gulyugin et al. 2006). The maximum recorded size is reported at about 60cm total length (TL) (Serena 2005), although data from Egyptian waters suggests that maximum size is smaller at 38.6 cm TL (Abdel-Aziz 1994). This study in Egyptian waters reports that size at maturity is 18 cm for males and 22 cm for females (Abdel-Aziz 1994). Aplacental viviparous. The species appears to have a restricted breeding season, and females appear to breed annually (Abdel-Aziz 1994). Births usually occur between March and September with 3-21 juveniles of 8-10 cm length (Serena 2005). Numbers depend on the size of the female. Torpedo torpedo feeds on small fishes, but also takes benthic invertebrates.
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Landed in some ports of the North Thyrrenian Sea. The meat can be eaten after removal of electrical organs from the specimens and then deep fried.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is captured in demersal fisheries, including bottom trawls, trammel nets, and artisanal coastal fisheries. Even though it is edible, it is landed in very few fisheries and is most often discarded at sea. Post discard survival may be relatively high because it is often caught in shallow waters. Torpedo torpedo appears to be consistently present in the demersal catch of fisheries on northern Mediterranean shores. No information is currently available on catches throughout the rest of the species’ range in the eastern Atlantic, although inshore fishing pressure is relatively intensive across large areas of this range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Precautionary conservation measures should include the live release of individuals caught, improved monitoring of fisheries data, identification of important nursery areas and the establishment of protected areas for such demersal species. Improvement and implementation of elasmobranch monitoring programmes is required to obtain data from throughout the species range.

Citation: Serena, F., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G. & Ungaro, N. 2009. Torpedo torpedo. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 November 2014.
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