|Scientific Name:||Takifugu chinensis (Abe, 1949)|
Sphoeroides rubripes ssp. chinensis Abe, 1949
|Taxonomic Notes:||Several genetic experiments have suggested that Takifugu chinensis and T. rubripes are very closely related and can possibly be regarded as the same species (Reza et al. 2011). In China, T. chinensis is considered to be a junior synonym of Takifugu pseudommus. However, differences in the anal fin color of these two species makes it unlikely that they are the same species (Matsuura pers. comm. 2011). Skull structure of the two species is identical, however, and therefore further taxonomic studies are required. The economically important genus Takifugu has been recommended for further taxonomic studies based on morphological and molecular analyses (Yamanoue et al. 2008). We accept the taxonomic validity of T. chinensis.|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Critically Endangered A2bd ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Shao, K., Leis, J.L., Hardy, G., Jing, L., Liu, M. & Pollard, D.|
|Reviewer(s):||Zapfe, G. & Lyczkowski-Shultz, J.|
|Facilitator/Compiler(s):||Carpenter, K.E., Comeros-Raynal, M., Harwell, H. & Sanciangco, J.|
Takifugu chinensis is distributed throughout the coastal waters of China into the waters of southwest Japan. This species is a popular food fish in Japan, and is among the top four Fugu species consumed in Japan. Declines in landing statistics reported from the Sekai National Fisheries Institute in Nagasaki and the National Fisheries University in Shimonoseki City indicate localized population declines of 99.99% over the last 40 years, with steady declines from a peak of 3,600 tonnes in 1969 to about one tonne in 2008. Elsewhere, declines in wild populations in the East China Sea and Yellow Sea have been noted, but remain to be quantified. Takifugu chinensis is threatened by overfishing resulting from fisheries mismanagement, as well as pollution, urban development and possibly the effects of wide-spread aquaculture of the closely-related congener T. rubripes. The escape or intentional release of aquacultured T. rubripes threatens the genetic integrity of this species through possible introgression and hybridization, and large-scale aquaculture operations with high mortality rates may introduce pathogens to wild populations. This species is harvested by bottom long-line fishing, which is very efficient in the capture of this and other Takifugu species. Additionally, cultured individuals listed under the name T. chinensis may be mis-identified and pertain to T. rubripes and T. pseudommus. Taxonomy of cultured species remains to be verified. There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place, however this species may benefit from management directed towards T. rubripes under plans such as the Plan for Rebuilding Puffer Resources, implemented in Japan in 2005, which includes seasonal closures, improvements to fishing grounds, support for some stock assessment programs (for other species of pufferfish), and the mandated release of small fishes. There is no evidence that catches have increased above the 2008 level in recent years. Therefore, we list this species as Critically Endangered under criterion A2bd. We accept current taxonomy that this species is valid (Eschmeyer 2011) and although taxonomic problems persist for this putative species, it is clear that even at the population level there have been severe population declines. Due to the economic importance of the Takifugu genus, and the prevalence of taxonomic uncertainty within this group, we recommend further taxonomic studies utilizing both molecular and morphological methods. Takifugu chinensis also occurs in several marine protected areas throughout its distribution. There is very little information available on the population status, life history characteristics, habitat and ecology of this species. We recommend continued research on this species' life history characteristics and population status.
|Range Description:||Takifugu chinensis is found in the Northwest Pacific, from Northern Kyushu, Japan west to the East China and Yellow seas (Nakabo 2002). It is found at depths ranging from 5 to 150 metres.|
Native:China; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Taiwan, Province of China
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:|
Pacific – northwest
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
Molecular analyses of the whole mitochondrial genome of the genus Takifugu revealed that the genetic differences between T. chinensis, T. pseudommus, T. basilevskiannus, and T. rubripes are not significantly different from the genetic differences between individuals within the species T. chinensis, reinforcing the need for further taxonomic studies of the genus using molecular and morphological techniques (Yamanoue et al. 2008). Additionally, T. chinensis and T. pseudommus were previously proposed to belong to the same species as T. rubripes based on analyses of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA (Song et al. 2001, Reza et al. 2008). Due to their relatively recent divergence times, Takifugu interspecific crosses produced by artificial and natural fertilization in both natural and laboratory settings were found to be viable (Fujita 1967, Masuda et al. 1991, Miyaki et al. 1995, Kai et al. 2005). Each combination of Takifugu species is expected to produce fertile hybrid crosses (Yamanoue et al. 2008).
Takifugu chinensis is among the top four highly-commercial Fugu species in Japan. These include: Takifugu rubripes, T. chinensis, T. porphyreus and T. xanthopterus. Catch records of T. chinensis in on the west coast of Kyushu Island, Japan have shown a sharp drop from 3600 tonnes/year in 1969, to 2300 tonnes/year in 1972, to 1600 tonnes per year in 1975, to 1000 tonnes/year in 1979, to 200 tonnes/year in 1989, and 100 tonnes in 1999 (Yamada et al. 2007). More recent records from the National Fisheries University in Shimonoseki City (the city being famous for its specialized pufferfish-only market), T. chinensis was regularly found in the Fugu fish market in the 1960s at a level of 3000 tonnes, however the figure dropped sharply in the late 1970s through the 1990s. Only one tonne was recorded in 2006 and 2008 (Matsuura pers. comm. 2010). Based on the above landing statistics, it is estimated that the global population of T. chinensis may have declined by over 99.99% over the last 40 years. Over the course of three generation lengths, or 12 years, this species may have declined by as much as 99%. This estimate is based on landing statistics of harvests from the East China Sea and Yellow Sea provided by the Sekai National Fisheries Institute in Nagasaki and the National Fisheries University in Shimonoseki City. It is also worth noting that T. rubripes, one of the most expensive commercial fish species in Japan which is a genetically close relative of T. chinensis has also experienced population declines in the region which have been attributed to fisheries mismanagement and overfishing. Despite increasing fishing effort in the region, the wild catch of T. rubripes fell to less than 500 tonnes in 1994, and has continued to decrease ever since (Reza et al. 2011).
Takifugu chinensis is uncommon in museum collections, it is represented by eight lots (FishNet2 database searched November 2013).
|Current Population Trend:||Decreasing|
|Habitat and Ecology:|
Takifugu chinensis inhabits the continental shelf and sandy bottoms, and is usually found at depths of 50 to 100 metres (K. Matsuura pers. comm. 2011). Although it has been recorded in lakes and rivers, neither this species nor T. rubripes are found in these habitats (K. Matsuura pers. comm. 2011). It spawns at depths of 80 metres over sandy, muddy bottoms on the continental shelf (Yamada et al. 2007).The age of first maturity has been estimated at two to three years (Yu 2003, K. Matsuura pers. comm. 2011). Longevity is estimated at nine years (K. Matsuura pers. comm. 2011). Based on this information, generation length has been estimated to be four years. The length of three generations is 12 years. The ovaries and liver contain Tetrodotoxin and are considered extremely toxic. The flesh, skin and testes are innocuous (Nakabo 2002).
The genus Takifugu speciated and radiated in marine waters around China, Korea, and Japan. The highest species density is found in the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, and East China Sea, followed by the Sea of Japan and Pacific Coast of Japan, and finally by the South China Sea. Several species have been reported from the Indian Ocean (Yamanoue et al. 2008).
Tetraodontids are characterized by a tough skin that is often covered with small spinulous scales, a beak-like dental plate divided by a median suture, a slit-like gill opening anterior to the base of the pectoral fin, no pelvic fins, no fin spines, a single usually short-based dorsal fin, a single usually short-based anal fin, and no ribs. They are capable of inflating their abdomens with water when frightened or disturbed and are capable of producing and accumulating toxins such as tetrodotoxin and saxitoxin in the skin, gonads, and liver. The degree of toxicity varies by species, and also according to geographic area and season (Allen and Randall 1977, Allen and Erdmann 2012). Fishes in the family Tetraodontidae have the smallest vertebrate genomes known to date (Neafsey and Palumbi 2003).
|Generation Length (years):||4|
|Use and Trade:||
Takifugu chinensis is a highly-desirable, commercially important species. This species is commonly consumed in Japan (Kikuchi 2006), where it is called "Karasu" and is one of the most popular puffer fish species consumed (Kodama et al. 1984). Takifugu chinensis is cultured in northern China solely for exportation to Japan (Yu 2003). Takifugu chinensis, like other Fugu species, is primarily caught by bottom long-line fishing, a method which is highly effective at landing Takifugu spp. pufferfishes (K. Matsuura pers. comm. 2011).
The global population of T. chinensis is estimated to have declined by over 99.99% over the last 40 years. This estimate is based on landing statistics from the East China Sea and Yellow Sea provided by the Sekai National Fisheries Institute in Nagasaki and the National Fisheries University in Shimonoseki City.
Genetic effects of cultured fish on natural populations
Regional threats: environmental degradation and over-fishing
There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for Takifugu chinensis, however it is possible that management efforts aimed at sustaining T. rubripes fisheries have benefited T. chinensis.
In order to sustain fisheries of the East China Sea, the government of China has implemented a number of management and conservation measures. These include establishing a prohibited-fishing zone along the 50-m depth contour, the establishment of seventeen national nature reserves and five special marine protected areas, the creation of fishery protected areas which are annually closed to trawling, and a summer closed-fishing areas, which prohibit trawling and have been extended to the South China sea, Yellow Sea, and Bohai Sea (Cheng et al. 2007).
|Citation:||Shao, K., Leis, J.L., Hardy, G., Jing, L., Liu, M. & Pollard, D. 2014. Takifugu chinensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T193605A2246312.Downloaded on 23 May 2018.|
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