Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Chimaeriformes Chimaeridae

Scientific Name: Chimaera argiloba
Species Authority: Last, White & Pogonoski, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Whitefin Chimaera
Taxonomic Notes: Last and Stevens (1994) recorded this species as Chimaera sp. E and it has since been formally described by Last et al. (2008). In the past, the Whitefin Chimaera (Chimaera argiloba) has been confused with the northern Pacific Silver Chimaera (Chimaera phantasma), however the Whitefin Chimaera differs in some morphological traits and lacks the dark stripes that characterise the Silver Chimaera (Last et al. 2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-11-28
Assessor(s): Theiss, S.M., Huveneers, C. & Ebert, D.A.
Reviewer(s): Carlson, J. & Dulvy, N.
The Whitefin Chimaera (Chimaera argiloba) has a relatively restricted distribution from the continental slope off northwestern Australia in depths of 370–520 m. Very little is known of the biology of this species. Maximum size, including the caudal filament, is to at least 90 cm total length and 40 cm body length. Size-at-birth is unknown, but like other members of this family, the Whitefin Chimaera is most likely oviparous. Due to its abundance and an overlap in habitat depth and range, this species is potentially taken as bycatch in benthic deepwater commercial trawl fisheries off the coast of Western Australia. It is unlikely that these fisheries are severely impacting this species, however the scope for future expansion should be monitored. Detailed information regarding the biology, ecology and life history of this species, as well as regular monitoring of commercial fishery bycatch, is required for effective management and conservation of the Whitefin Chimaera.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Whitefin Chimaera (­­Chimaera argiloba) is known off Western Australia and has a relatively confined distribution from northwest of Geraldton (280°116'S, 113°17'E) to the Rowley Shoals (18°02'S, 118°14 E) (Last et al. 2008). Possible conspecific specimens have been collected off of eastern Indonesia and New Caledonia, but further analysis is needed to confirm species identification (White et al. 2006).­­
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Western Australia)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – western central
Lower depth limit (metres): 520
Upper depth limit (metres): 370
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The Whitefin Chimaera is abundant within its range (Last and Stevens 2009), however there are no details of population size, structure or trends.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Whitefin Chimaera occurs on the continental slope at depths of 370–520 m (Last et al. 2008). The upper limit was extended from the previously reported depth of minimum depth of 440 m (Last and Stevens 1994) after formal description. There are no specific details on habitat. Little is known of the biology of this species, however the Whitefin Chimaera reaches a maximum size, including the caudal filament, of at least 90 cm total length (TL), 40 cm body length (BDL) (Last et al. 2008). Size at birth is unknown. Like other members of this family, the Whitefin Chimaera is most likely oviparous.

Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Whitefin Chimaera is not known to be traded, however due to its abundance, it could be of commercial value (Last and Stevens 1994).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The Whitefin Chimaera is not known to be commercially targeted; however a potential threat to this species is as bycatch in benthic deepwater trawls targeting prawns and teleost fish off the coast of northwestern Australia. The Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery and the North West Slope Trawl Fishery overlap with the distribution of this species to the south and north, respectively.  Both fisheries use trawl gear operating at depths greater than 200 m that may potentially capture this species, however fishing effort in both fisheries is relatively low (less than three active vessels) and they are unlikely to be severely impacting the Whitefin Chimaera (Wilson et al. 2010). Individuals caught in these fisheries may potentially be released alive, although post-release survival rate is unknown. There have been no records of this species being caught in any Western Australia State managed fisheries (R. McAuley pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

No conservation actions are currently in place for the Whitefin Chimaera and information regarding the biology of the this species is urgently required. There is no regular monitoring of bycatch in commercial fisheries and so catch and trend information, which is vital to inform management, are lacking. It is recommended that this species be monitored with regard to deepwater fisheries that might target this species for human consumption in the future. Specifically, it is recommended that species-specific catch data are collected, recorded and reported.

Citation: Theiss, S.M., Huveneers, C. & Ebert, D.A. 2011. Chimaera argiloba. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T195427A8964741. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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