Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Chimaeriformes Chimaeridae

Scientific Name: Hydrolagus marmoratus
Species Authority: Didier, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Marbled Ghostshark
Taxonomic Notes: Last and Stevens (1994) recorded the Marbled Ghostshark (Hydrolagus marmoratus) as Hydrolagus sp. B, but it has since been formally described by Didier (2008). The Marbled Ghostshark differs from other species within the genus Hydrolagus through several morphological characteristics, by being lighter in colour and possessing a distinctive reticulated pattern (Didier 2008). Tissue samples for molecular sequencing have not been obtained to genetically distinguish the Marbled Ghostshark from other species (Didier 2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient 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 Marbled Ghostshark (Hydrolagus marmoratus) has a relatively confined distribution off the coast of eastern Australia in depths of 550–995 m along the continental slope. Very little is known of the biology of this species, but like other members of this family, it is most likely oviparous. This species probably experiences minimal threat as bycatch from benthic deepwater commercial trawl fisheries off the eastern coast of Australia due to the deeper depths that it inhabits. Detailed information regarding the 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 Marbled Ghostshark. There is currently insufficient information on the population size/structure, trend and catches for this species to assess it beyond Data Deficient.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Marbled Ghostshark has a relatively restricted distribution along the east coast of Australia spanning from Bulli, New South Wales (34°15'S, 151°31'E) north to the Whitsunday Group, Queensland (18°58'S, 150°29'E) (Didier 2008).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Lower depth limit (metres): 995
Upper depth limit (metres): 550
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are no details of abundance, population size, structure or trends for the Marbled Ghostshark.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Marbled Ghostshark is found along the continental slope in depths of 550–995 m (Didier 2008). Last and Stevens (1994) originally reported its depth range as 450–850 m, but the depth range was later revised after being formally described and with improved information. There are no specific details on habitat.

Little information is available regarding the biology of the Marbled Ghostshark. This species is relatively small, reaching a maximum size, including the caudal filament, of at least 80 cm total length (TL), 40 cm body length (BDL), and with both males and females maturing around this size (Didier 2008). Size-at-birth is unknown and like other members of this family, the Marbled Ghostshark is oviparous.

Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Marbled Ghostshark is not known to be traded.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Marbled Ghostshark is not known to be commercially targeted, however the major threat to this species is as bycatch in benthic deepwater trawls targeting teleost fishes and prawns off the east coast of Australia. In particular, the Coral Sea Fishery operates commercial trawls in areas that overlap with the distribution and depth of the species (Wilson et al. 2010), however the impact of these fisheries on this species is most likely minimal, as the Marbled Ghostshark inhabits depths that are very seldom fished within its geographical range. Individuals caught in this fishery 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 Marbled Ghostshark and information regarding the biology of 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. Although relatively small, it is recommended that 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. Hydrolagus marmoratus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T195434A8966131. . Downloaded on 06 October 2015.
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