|Scientific Name:||Chiloscyllium arabicum|
|Species Authority:||Gubanov, 1980|
|Taxonomic Notes:||This species was first described by Gubanov and Schleib (1980) but Dingerkus and DeFino (1983) described it as a separate species, Chiloscyllium confusum, without mention of C. arabicum. Compagno (1984) provisionally recognized C. arabicum but noted that it was apparently very close to C. punctatum. Dingerkus and DeFino's account clearly establishes this species as being separable from C. punctatum? (Compagno 2001).
This species has been widely misreported as C. griseum, at least in the Persian/Arabian Gulf; the distribution of these two similar species (and any overlap) requires clarification.
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Near Threatened ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Stevens, J.D., Valenti, S.V. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)|
This small carpetshark appears to be reasonably common; however, its distribution requires clarification as confusion with Chiloscyllium griseum may have led to incorrect reporting. Clarification of this may therefore lead to a contraction in its currently reported range/abundance. The Arabian Carpetshark (Chiloscyllium arabicum) is not targeted but appears to be a major bycatch element of trawl (and other) fisheries. Apparently it is little utilized in the Persian Gulf but probably it is used in Pakistan and India. It is reasonably hardy to trawl capture and aerial exposure but is also threatened by habitat loss throughout its range. This species is known to have close association with coral reef habitats, which are particularly prone to anthropogenic degradation and there is evidence that such habitats have been completely destroyed from some parts of its range (e.g., Bahrain). More generally, it is exposed to widespread habitat loss and modification, not least in the Persian/Arabian Gulf (drainage of Iraqi marshes and damming of rivers in Turkey affecting the northwest Gulf), coastal developments and effects to benthic communities from demersal trawling throughout much of its range. It is also known to accumulate organic pollutants such as PAHs. The threats of fishing and habitat degradation are likely to continue into the future and increase in intensity and coverage. As a result of these combined factors, this species is assessed as Near Threatened based on inferred continuing population declines approaching 30% in three generations (possibly ~27 years). Given that a proportion of discards may have a relatively high survival rate, a threatened category is not yet warranted, but the species may meet the criteria for VU A4bcd in the future. There is a need for quantitative distribution and abundance data.
|Range Description:||West Indian Ocean: currently reported as India, Pakistan, and the Persian/Arabian Gulf (Compagno 2001). However, the exact distribution of this species and the similar Grey Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium griseum) requires clarification; misidentification of these two species, at least in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, is likely to have led to erroneous distribution records for both. Distribution may be patchy: the species is not reported from widespread landings or surveys in Oman (A. Henderson, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, pers. comm., Henderson et al., 2007), or in India (Venkataraman et al. 2003), although the latter may be due to confusion with C. griseum.|
Native:India (Gujarat, Kerala); Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kuwait; Oman; Pakistan; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:||
Indian Ocean – western
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||Common in summer in the Persian Gulf (Compagno et al. 2005). Reported as fairly common on reefs in Kuwait, especially in the spring when it is often seen resting among corals (Carpenter et al. 1997). Apparently reasonably common in trawls in Kuwait (A.B.M. Moore, pers. obs. 2007).|
|Habitat and Ecology:||
Found in coral reefs, lagoons, rocky shores and mangrove estuaries, between depths of 3?100 m on the bottom (Compagno 2001). This shark is less than 10 cm long when born and grows to a maximum length of 70 cm. Females lay up to four egg-cases on coral reefs, with hatching after 70?80 days (Compagno 2001). It feeds on squid, shelled molluscs, crustaceans and snake eels (Compagno 2001).
Known to associate closely with coral reefs in the Persian/Arabian Gulf: confirmed records of Arabian Carpetshark from reef environments in Bahrain (Randall 1986), Kuwait (Carpenter et al. 1997); and Saudi Arabia?s Gulf coast (Krupp and Almarri 1996).
Relatively hardy to capture by trawl and exposure to air (A.B. M. Moore, pers. obs. 2007).
Apparently little utilized in the Persian Gulf (Gubanov and Schleib 1980) but probably is used in Pakistan and India.
Common as bycatch in trawls in Kuwait, where ?cat sharks? (likely to contain most, if not all, C. arabicum) are reported as the second most abundant bycatch in the prawn trawl fishery, accounting for nearly 14% of all bycatch (Bishop 2002). Also reported as bycatch (as ?C. arabicus?) in the Bahrain shrimp fishery (Abdulqader 2001). Despite high levels of bycatch this species is only very rarely observed in local markets, at least in Kuwait (A.B.M. Moore, pers. obs. 2007), suggesting it is discarded. Caught in artisanal intertidal stake-net traps (hadra), at least in Kuwait (McEwan et al. 2001) and likely throughout The Persian/Arabian Gulf.
High levels of PAHs and benzo [a] pyrene reported from this species from Kuwait (Al-Hassan et al. 2000).
Habitat degradation is likely to be an important factor. C. arabicum is known to have close association with coral reef habitats, which are particularly prone to anthropogenic degradation. In the Persian/Arabian Gulf this includes changes due to the damming of the Tigris-Euphrates river system in Turkey and the drainage of the Iraqi marshes (Al-Yamani et al. 2007), chronic and acute (e.g., war-related) releases of oil, rapid large-scale coastal development (e.g. megastructures in the UAE), and changes to benthic communities from demersal trawling. Coastal land reclamation has accelerated in this area in recent years and, as a result, coastal reefs and other habitat have been destroyed. For example, this has resulted in the almost total loss of mangrove areas around Bahrain (Morgan 2006a).
In India, declines in general catch rates, biomass, recruitment and shifts in regular landing patterns in inshore fisheries have been linked to steep increases in the fisher population, number and efficiency of craft and gears, and associated fishing effort, as well as the degradation of coastal habitats (mangroves, coral reefs, etc.) caused by pollution of coastal waters, urbanisation, coastal developments, etc. (Morgan 2006b). Although no specific data are available it is reasonable to assume that this species has been impacted.
Commonly used in aquaria, e.g., in Kuwait (Tony McEwan, Kuwait Scientific Centre, pers. comm. to AB. Moore 30.9.2006), although this is not thought to represent a threat to populations.
|Conservation Actions:||None known.|
|Citation:||Moore, A.B.M. 2009. Chiloscyllium arabicum. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 June 2013.|
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