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Dasyatis margarita

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES RAJIFORMES DASYATIDAE

Scientific Name: Dasyatis margarita
Species Authority: (Günther, 1870)
Synonym(s):
Trygon margarita Günther, 1870
Taxonomic Notes: Former records of D. margarita have included misidentified specimens of as the smaller sympatric species, D. margaritella. Both species are still mixed in landing statistics.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2bd+3bd+4bd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2004-09-03
Assessor(s): Compagno, L.J.V. & Marshall, L.J.
Reviewer(s): Fowler, S.L., Séret, B. & IUCN SSG Batoid Red List Workshop participants (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
Dasyatis margarita is a large (to 65 cm disc width) demersal ray from West African marine and brackish waters, including lagoons and estuaries. Its biology is poorly known, but it is ovoviviparous with very low fecundity: it has only one to three pups per litter. It has been reported as common in a wide range of coastal and estuarine fishing gears, and is marketed for human consumption. The species is now reportedly uncommon in catches and it is assessed as Endangered on the basis of a significant decline that is likely to continue as a result of continued intensive and unregulated fishing pressure for this large ray within its limited range.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Eastern central and southeast Atlantic/West African coast and islands, definitely from Senegal to Congo. Records outside this range (from Angola to Mauritania and the Canaries) may be based on D. margaritella, which has been confused with this species. As a result, the distribution of D. margarita may prove to be smaller than described here (Compagno and Roberts 1984, B. Séret pers. comm. 2008).
Countries:
Native:
Benin; Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Mauritania; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Togo
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – southeast
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Unknown.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Tropical. Formerly reported as common in marine and estuarine habitats (Compagno and Roberts 1984), but records may have included misidentified specimens of D. margaritella. Biology unknown, other than a reported maximum size of 100 cm disc width (DW) (Stehmann 1981). Ovoviviparous, with 1-3 pups (B. Séret pers. comm. 2008).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats to D. margarita are fisheries and, to a lesser extent, habitat modification. Inshore rays are susceptible to a wide range of fishing gears. Fishing for D. margarita occurs in inshore waters in all its distribution range along West African coasts off Senegal, Ivory Coast and Ghana, where it is caught mainly by artisanal and small scale commercial fisheries using trammelnets, bottom trawls and beach seines (Stehmann 1981), but also by gill nets, fish traps, beach seines, and line fishing. These threats probably operate virtually throughout its range. Habitat modification/degradation attributed to agricultural chemicals and light industry development may also be a problem in some areas.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No specific conservation measures are in place at this time, although the Members of the West African Sub-regional Fisheries Commission and some other African States are developing National Shark Plans. Other range States should be encouraged to follow suit in order to facilitate the conservation and management of all chondrichthyan species in the region, taking account of the vulnerability of this and other large inshore regional endemics to unregulated fishing activity. There is a need to identify correctly and monitor this species in catches and to clarify its geographic and depth range. There is an urgent need for accurate population surveys, and studies of biology and behaviour. Effective protected areas are needed to combat harvest mortality and habitat degradation for this and other inshore species.

Citation: Compagno, L.J.V. & Marshall, L.J. 2009. Dasyatis margarita. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 October 2014.
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