Galeus arae 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Scyliorhinidae

Scientific Name: Galeus arae (Nichols, 1927)
Common Name(s):
English Roughtail Catshark, Marbled Catshark
French Chien à Queue Rude
Spanish Pintarroja Rabolija
Galeus arae ssp. arae (Nichols, 1927)
Pristiurus arae Nichols, 1927
Taxonomic Notes: This is a member of the Galeus arae complex of the Western Atlantic. The taxonomy of this complex was recently revised with former subspecies now listed as full species (Konstantinou and Cozzi 1998, Konstantinou et al. 2000), which is generally accepted.

This species is difficult to distinguish from other members of the G. Arae complex. It is however, separated from its congeners by the size of its anal fin, vertebral count and size at maturity (Konstantinou et al. 2000).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2004-06-16
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Heupel, M.R.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M., Stevens, J.D., Dudley, S.D., Pollard, D.P. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)
Galeus arae is a member of the Western Atlantic Galeus arae species complex. Information for this species is currently limited and its distribution may not be completely documented due in part to confusion with its congeners. Known from separate northern (southeast USA, northern Gulf of Mexico, and Cuba to Yucatan) and southern (Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica) populations. Recorded from depths of 36–732 m in the north and 338–631 m in the south and reaches a maximum size of ~33 cm total length, but virtually nothing is known of its biology. No information is available on the capture of this species; however it may be taken as bycatch in trawl fisheries operating in the northern portion of its range, where it occurs at shallower depths. Given that the majority of the species’ bathymetric distribution is thought to extend beyond the depths of fisheries operations throughout most of its range, the species is assessed as Least Concern. Monitoring of fisheries as they expand into deeper waters will be required.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Geographic range is disjunct in the western central Atlantic with a northern population occurring along the southeast and northern Gulf of Mexico coast of the USA (South Carolina to the Mississippi Delta); and, northern Cuba to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. A southern population occurs along the Caribbean coasts of Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica together with some neighbouring islands (Konstantinou et al. 2000). Its distribution may not be completely documented.

FAO Area: 31.
Countries occurrence:
Costa Rica (Costa Rica (mainland)); Cuba; Honduras (Honduran Caribbean Is., Honduras (mainland)); Mexico (Yucatán); Nicaragua (Nicaragua (mainland), Nicaraguan Caribbean Is.); United States (Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The distribution as presently recognised (Konstantinou et al. 2000) is disjunct and may represent separate subpopulations.

These sharks are irregularly distributed along the slope they inhabit and are encountered in large aggregations or are otherwise absent (Compagno 1984).

There may be partial segregation by adults and juveniles based on depth. Few juveniles are collected below 450m, but mixed adults and juveniles can be found in waters less than 450m deep (Compagno 1984).

Springer (1979) suggests that nursery areas may exist on very rough bottom which is un-trawlable.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The northern population of the species is recorded from the continental shelf and upper continental and insular slopes at depths of 36-732m; the southern population occurs in deep waters of the upper continental and insular slopes at depths of 338–613 m (Konstantinou et al. 2000).

Little is known about its biology.

Although the reproductive mode of this species has been in question, Konstantinou et al. (2000) reported this species as oviparous, but Compagno et al. (2005) suggest that this species is possibly ovoviviparous.

Reaches a maximum size of ~33 cm TL (largest verifiable size in the literature; Konstantinou et al. 2000).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Uncertain. Any future expansion of deepwater demersal fisheries would require monitoring, particularly as the species is irregularly distributed and intensive fishing may have localized impacts on the species. However, its small size would preclude it from capture in most fishing gear except trawls.

The northern population of this species is most likely taken by trawl fisheries, although no specific data are available on its capture. In the northern Gulf of Mexico, the majority of shrimp trawling effort is found near shore at depths less than 20 m (Shepherd and Myers 2005), so there is probably some spatial refuge for this species in the deeper portion of its bathymetric range.

Shrimp trawl fisheries also operate along the Caribbean coasts of Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. However, current information suggests that these fisheries are primarily restricted to the shelf at present (<70m), outside the bathymetric range of this species in this area (FAO a,b,c).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None

Citation: Heupel, M.R. 2009. Galeus arae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T161479A5433139. . Downloaded on 24 June 2018.
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