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Neoraja caerulea

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES RAJIFORMES RAJIDAE

Scientific Name: Neoraja caerulea
Species Authority: (Stehmann, 1976)
Common Name/s:
English Blue Pygmy Skate
Synonym/s:
Breviraja caerulea Stehmann, 1976
Taxonomic Notes: Originally described in the genus Breviraja.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2004-10-24
Assessor/s: Séret, B. & Stehmann, M.
Reviewer/s: Kulka, D.W. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
The Blue Pygmy Skate (Neoraja caerulea) is a poorly known, small (~32 cm TL), deepwater skate is endemic to the northeast Atlantic, at depths of 600–1,260 m. It appears to be relatively rare and was known only from the type series until more recently, when further records have been obtained with the development of deep bottom fisheries on the continental slopes and scientific exploration cruises in the eastern north Atlantic. It is occasionally taken as bycatch in deepwater trawl fisheries, which are expanding in the northeast Atlantic, but few data are available. The species’ known geographic distribution appears to lie within the range of deepwater fisheries in this area. Insufficient information is currently available to assess this species beyond Data Deficient and further study is required on the species’ full distribution and interactions with fisheries.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Northeast Atlantic: Iceland and slope of Rockwall Trough, northwest of Ireland, Bay of Biscay, mid-Atlantic Ridge (Stehmann and Bürkel 1984, Quéro et al. 2003).
Countries:
Native:
France; Iceland; Ireland; Spain
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – northeast
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Relatively rare species, population size unknown. Since 1976, this species has been known only from the 12 specimens of the type series plus one additional damaged female, but several further records have recently been obtained with the development of deep bottom fisheries on the continental slopes and scientific exploration cruises in the eastern north Atlantic (records attested by specimens deposited in various museum collections).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Occurs on muddy sand substrates, on the continental slope at depths of 600–1,260 m (Stehmann 1976, Stehmann et al. 2008). Attains a maximum size of 32 cm total length (TL) (adult male) (Stehmann and Bürkel 1984, Quéro et al. 2003). Like other skates, this species is presumably oviparous, but nothing else is known of its biology. The hydrographic conditions where this species has been found suggest that appears to prefer temperatures higher than 6°C and salinity of more than 35 psu. If this is the case, then the depth range of N. caerulea will be limited to a maximum of about 1,300 m (Stehmann, 1976, Stehmann and Bürkel 1984, Stehmann et al. 2008).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is occasionally taken as bycatch by the expanding deep bottom trawl fisheries operating in the northeast Atlantic, although no data are available on catches. The species’ known geographic distribution appears to lie within the range of deepwater fisheries in this area.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None. Monitoring of catches and further surveys are required to define the species’ full distribution, occurrence and interactions with fisheries.
Citation: Séret, B. & Stehmann, M. 2009. Neoraja caerulea. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 April 2014.
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