Narke capensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Narkidae

Scientific Name: Narke capensis (Gmelin, 1789)
Common Name(s):
English Cape Numbfish, Onefin Electric Ray
French Poisson Engourdeur du Cap
Spanish Pez Temblador del Cabo
Raja capensis Gmelin, 1789

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2007-01-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Holtzhausen, H.A. & Smale, M.J.
Reviewer(s): Cavanagh, R.D, Fowler, S. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)
This southern African endemic has a limited inshore distribution centred largely on the south coast of Africa, particularly the heart-shaped bays of the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces. Although some of its range is protected by bans on inshore trawling and it is not directly exploited at present, the Cape Numbfish (Narke capensis) may be taken as bycatch and its proximity to the shore also makes it vulnerable to pollution from towns and industrial areas, particularly off Port Elizabeth. At present no data are available to assess this species beyond Data Deficient, although its limited distribution and possible trawl bycatch mortality and habitat degradation are of concern. Further research is required to enable reassessment.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Southeastern Atlantic and southwestern Indian Ocean: South Africa from Cape Point to central Natal (Compagno et al. 1989). Also recorded from Meob Bay, Namibia, with an unofficial report from Walvis Bay (Bianchi et al. 1993). Possibly occurs off Mozambique and Madagascar (Compagno et al. 1989).
Countries occurrence:
Namibia; South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):180
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Mainly recorded from temperate bays of South Africa (eastern and western Cape Province) , where it is reportedly common (Compagno and Heemstra 2007). One specimen has been reported from central Namibia, with a further unofficial sighting (Biachi et al. 2003). A record from Madagascar requires investigation since this is significantly outside the main temperate coastal range of this species and is suspected to be a misidentification. Commonly trawled close inshore in shallow, muddy parts of bays <50 m deep along the Cape south coast, it may be limited by its specialist feeding constraints to particular substrate types.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Found in shallow waters down to a depth of 180 m, but mainly shallower than 100 m in muddy bays (Bianchi et al. 1993). It has been caught by hand previously in South Africa at 4.5 m depth (M. Marks pers. Comm. in Compagno and Heemstra 2007). Feeds mainly on polychaetes (Compagno et al. 1989). Its maximum recorded size is 38 cm total length (TL) (Bianchi et al. 1993).

The size at maturity in males is uncertain, but the largest immature male has been reported at 10.5 cm TL and the smallest adult male at 17.4 cm TL (Compagno and Heemstra 2007). Maturity in females occurs at around 15.5 cm TL (Compagno and Heemstra 2007).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No fisheries target this species in Namibia, but it may be caught as bycatch by shallow trawling in South Africa. Its inshore distribution makes it vulnerable to pollution from coastal settlements and industries.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Parts of this species' range are protected by prohibitions on inshore trawling. Requires monitoring of catches and bycatch, if any.

Citation: Holtzhausen, H.A. & Smale, M.J. 2009. Narke capensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T161614A5464882. . Downloaded on 16 October 2018.
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