Chimaera macrospina


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Chimaera macrospina
Species Authority: Didier, Last & White, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Longspine Chimaera
Taxonomic Notes: Last and Stevens (1994) recorded the Longspine Chimaera (Chimaera macrospina) as Chimaera sp. C and it has since been formally described by Didier et al. (2008). A similar species, possibly even conspecific, is found in New Zealand (Last and Stevens 2009).

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 Longspine Chimaera (Chimaera macrospina) has a split distribution, occurring along the continental slope off western and eastern Australia in depths of 435–1,300 m. Little is known of the biology of this species. Maximum size, including the caudal filament, is to at least 75 cm total length and 53 cm body length. Size-at-birth is unknown, but as with other members of this family, the Longspine Chimaera is most likely oviparous. Due to an overlap in habitat, depth and range, this species is potentially at threat from bycatch from benthic deepwater commercial trawl fisheries off both the western and eastern coasts of Australia. However, because the Longspine Chimaera is commonly found at depths greater than 800 m, the potential threat from commercial trawlers typically operating at shallower depths may be minimal. Given the low fishing effort in the depth range of this species it is assessed as Least Concern, though the level of catch and degree of overlap of deepwater fisheries should be monitored closely.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Longspine Chimaera is found off Western Australia between Cape Naturaliste (33⁰20'S, 114⁰30'E), and North West Cape (19⁰39'S, 113⁰12'E), and off eastern Australia from Brush Island, New South Wales (35⁰32'S, 150⁰52'E) north to the Queensland Plateau, Queensland (16⁰54'S, 151⁰30'E) (Didier et al. 2008). Since formal description, the northern distribution limit off the east coast of Australia has been extended from that reported in Last and Stevens (1994).
Australia (Coral Sea Is. Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Two populations appear to exist for the Longspine Chimaera, however there are no details of relative abundance, connectivity, population size, structure or trends for either of these groups.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Longspine Chimaera occurs along the mid-continental slope of warm temperate and tropical Australia with a depth range of 435–1,300 m (Didier et al. 2008, Last and Stevens 2009). The distribution of the Longspine Chimaera partially overlaps with the closely-related Southern Chimaera (C. fulva) and Shortspine Chimaera (C. obscura), however this species is more commonly found at deeper depths (i.e. below 800 m) (Last and Stevens 2009). There are no specific details on habitat.

Very little information is available on the biology of this species. Maximum size, including the caudal filament, is to at least 75 cm total length (TL), 53 cm body length (BDL), with mature males examined being 60 cm BDL (Didier et al. 2008). Size-at-birth is unknown. Like other members of this family, the Longspine Chimaera is most likely oviparous.

Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Longspine Chimaera is not utilised or traded.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The Longspine Chimaera is not commercially targeted; however a potential threat to this species is as bycatch in benthic deepwater trawls targeting teleost fish off the coast of northwestern and eastern Australia. Both the Australian Commonwealth-managed Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery (Western Australia), operating in waters exceeding 200 m, and Coral Sea Fishery (Trap and Trawl Sector - Queensland), operating in depths from only a few metres down to 1,500 m, coincide with areas where this species is known to occur (Wilson et al. 2010). While trawl and trap gear has the potential to capture this species, fishing effort is low for both fisheries (≤4 active vessels in recent years and with no Coral Sea trawling in the last 2 years) (Wilson et al. 2010) and the Longspine Chimaera is most commonly found in depths greater than 800 m (Last and Stevens 2009) which may allow refuge from fisheries operating at shallower depths. Similarly, the distribution of the Longspine Chimaera overlaps with the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery, however this fishery currently prohibits trawling below 750 m (Wilson et al. 2010).

Two Queensland State-managed commercial fisheries, the Deep Water Fin Fish Fishery and the East Coast Otter Trawl fishery, also overlap in distribution with the Longspine Chimaera. Most of the fishing effort in the Deep Water Fin Fish Fishery is low, with only 4 active licenses, and occurs mainly in areas where the 200 m depth contour is relatively close to the coast (DEEDI 2010), whereas the deepwater eastern king prawn sector of the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery, which is a much larger fishery, operates at depths down to 300 m (Courtney and Prossser 2009). Due to its deep water preferences, it is unlikely that the Longspine Chimaera is captured in either of these fisheries. Individuals caught in commercial fisheries may potentially be released alive, although post-release survival rate is unknown.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

No conservation actions are currently in place for the Longspine Chimaera and information regarding the biology of this species is 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. However, this species is most commonly found in depths greater than 800 m, which provides it with a refuge from trawlers operating at shallower depths. It is recommended that catches of this species be monitored with regard to deepwater fisheries that might target this species for human consumption in the future.

Citation: Theiss, S.M., Huveneers, C. & Ebert, D.A. 2011. Chimaera macrospina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 25 July 2014.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided