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Brochiraja microspinifera 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Arhynchobatidae

Scientific Name: Brochiraja microspinifera Last & McEachran, 2006
Common Name(s):
English Small Deepsea Skate
Taxonomic Source(s): Last, P.R. and McEachran, J.D. 2006. New softnose skate genus Brochiraja from New Zealand (Rajidae: Arhynchobatinae) with description of four new species. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 40: 65-90.
Taxonomic Notes: Brochiraja microspinifera differs from other species of the Brochiraja genus in its small adult size, coloration, morphometrics, squamation, and low vertebral and pectoral-fin counts (Last and McEachran, 2006). This species has a uniquely low predorsal vertebral count (60-64) and differs from B. albilabiata in having a smaller, or evenly granular disc, and from B. aenigma in having rostral and preorbital thorns. Brochiraja is closely related to the genus Notoraja but differs from all other Arhynchobatids in the presence of a bifurcated thorn on the mid-distal rostral cartilage reduced in adults (Last and McEachran 2006).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-01
Assessor(s): Stevens, J.D.
Reviewer(s): Francis, M. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
Brochiraja microspinifera is virtually unknown. The species is only known from the continental slope off northern New Zealand at depths of 600-1,200 m. B. microspinifera is a small species attaining at least 33 cm TL. It is taken as occasional bycatch and is discarded in unknown quantities across its range by deepwater trawl fisheries for Orange Roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus), Oreos and Hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae). The skates are not retained (unless converted to fish meal) but are probably all dead on return to the sea. There is no information on the population status as catches are not reported, and the species is uncommon, making it difficult to estimate relative biomass using trawl surveys. Taxonomic confusion with other New Zealand species of Brochiraja has exacerbated these problems until recently. In the absence of reliable species-specific information, the species is assessed as Data Deficient. Levels of bycatch and mortality in fisheries should be quantified and reassessment of this species is recommended in the near-term.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Southwest Pacific: known from the continental slope off northern New Zealand from the Three Kings Islands to Wellington (Last and McEachran 2006).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
New Zealand (North Is.)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Pacific – southwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):1200
Upper depth limit (metres):600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Uncommon.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The biology of B. microspinifera is virtually unknown. This dwarf skate is concentrated at depths of 600-1,200 m and attains at least 33 cm TL (Last and McEachran 2006). Like other skates, it is oviparous and deposits eggs in quadrangular egg cases.
Systems:Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): B. microspinifera is taken as occasional bycatch and is discarded in unknown quantities by deepwater trawl fisheries for Orange Roughy, Oreos and Hoki. This species is currently only known from a relatively restricted area off northern New Zealand (Three Kings Islands to Wellington in 600 to 1,200 m) and so more information is required on its range and the extent to which it is taken by fisheries. The population may be declining, but no information is available to ascertain the full impact of fisheries on this species at present. The skates are not retained (unless converted to fish meal) but are probably all dead on return to the sea. There is no information on the population status as catches are not reported, and the species is uncommon, making it difficult to estimate relative biomass using trawl surveys. Taxonomic confusion with other New Zealand species of Brochiraja has exacerbated these problems until recently.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None in place. Levels of bycatch and mortality in fisheries should be quantified.

Citation: Stevens, J.D. 2009. Brochiraja microspinifera. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T161500A5437764. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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