Chimaera obscura 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Chimaeriformes Chimaeridae

Scientific Name: Chimaera obscura
Species Authority: Didier, Last & White, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Shortspine Chimaera
Taxonomic Notes: The Shortspine Chimaera is sympatric with the Southern Chimaera (C. fulva) off the coast of New South Wales, however the Shortspine Chimaera differs from this species by being smaller and darker in colour, as well as genetically distinct (Didier et al. 2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-02-18
Assessor(s): Theiss, S.M., Huveneers, C. & Ebert, D.A.
Reviewer(s): Walls, R.H.L. & Kyne, P.M.
Contributor(s): Kyne, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M. & Walls, R.H.L.
The Shortspine Chimaera (Chimaera obscura) is known from the continental slope off New South Wales (Australia) at depths of 1,025–1,080 m, although its full distribution is unclear. Maximum size is at least 95 cm total length. There are currently no anthropogenic threats to this species as deepwater trawl fisheries are restricted to depths shallower than 700 m and currently do not overlap the range of this species. However, it is currently known from only three specimens and until its full distribution is documented and more information is available on its full depth range (and therefore potential overlap with fisheries) it can't be assessed beyond Data Deficient.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2011 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Shortspine Chimaera (Chimaera obscura) is known from only three specimens caught in eastern Australian waters off Tuncurry, New South Wales (32⁰06'S, 153⁰09'E) (K. Graham, pers. comm., 2010), but has been reported from Ulladulla in New South Wales, north to Townsville in Queensland (Last and Stevens 2009). The latter records require validation as they are most likely a different species.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Lower depth limit (metres): 1080
Upper depth limit (metres): 1025
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are no details of relative abundance, population size, structure or trends of this species.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

This chimaera is found along the continental slope at depths of 1,025–1,080 m (Didier et al. 2008, K. Graham, pers. comm., 2010), however unconfirmed records place it at depths as shallow as 450 m (Last and Stevens 2009).

Maximum size is reportedly at least 95 cm total length (TL) or 53 cm body length (BDL) (Didier et al. 2008). The smallest mature males were recorded as 54 cm BDL, however both the holotype and paratype (Didier et al. 2008), as well as a further 3rd specimen lodged with the Australian Museum in Sydney, are female, and thus information concerning male specimens should be treated with caution. Like other chimaeroids, this species is most likely oviparous.

Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Shortspine Chimaera is not utilized or traded.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This chimaera is currently not exposed to any anthropogenic threats. It is not targeted commercially, although it is a possible bycatch in benthic deepwater trawls targeting teleost fishes and prawns off the east coast of Australia. Most areas of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery are currently closed to trawling below 700 m (Georgeson et al. 2014), which provides a refuge for this species as it is found in deeper waters (1,025–1,080 m). Possible confusion with other species, such as Southern Chimaera (C. fulva) and Longspine Chimaera (C. macrospina), and lack of fisheries bycatch data make it difficult to identify more specific threats in regards to current fisheries practices.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

No conservation actions are currently in place for this chimaera and information regarding its distribution and biology 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. However, most areas of the southern portion of its range are currently closed to trawling below 700 m, which would provide a refuge for this species, as it is found in deeper waters below 1,000 m. Any deepwater fisheries expansion should be monitored in future to ensure potential overlap is not detrimental to the population.

Citation: Theiss, S.M., Huveneers, C. & Ebert, D.A. 2015. Chimaera obscura. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T195432A68617496. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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