Narcine ornata 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Narcinidae

Scientific Name: Narcine ornata
Species Authority: Carvalho, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Ornate Numbfish
Taxonomic Notes:

The Ornate Numbfish (Narcine ornata) is a recently described species of numbfish (Carvalho 2008). It has previously been confused with Banded Numbfish (Narcine westraliensis) that is found further south in Western Australia outside the range of this species (Last and Stevens 2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-02-20
Assessor(s): Rigby, C. & Simpfendorfer, C.
Reviewer(s): Walls, R.H.L. & Kyne, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M. & Walls, R.H.L.
The Ornate Numbfish (Narcine ornata) is a small (to about 24 cm total length), poorly known numbfish that is endemic to northern Australia and occurs on the continental shelf at depths of 48–132 m. Little is known of its biology or population trend. It is not commercially utilized and not currently at risk from Australian fisheries, so it is assessed as Least Concern. Any future expansion or increase in effort of demersal fisheries in its range may pose a threat given this species’ relatively restricted known range.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2011 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The Ornate Numbfish is endemic to northern Australia with a distribution from Cape Londonderry (Western Australia) to western Cape York (Queensland). It occurs in the Timor and Arafura Seas, Torres Strait and primarily the Gulf of Carpentaria (Carvalho 2008, Last and Stevens 2009).

Countries occurrence:
Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – western central
Lower depth limit (metres): 132
Upper depth limit (metres): 48
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Nothing is known regarding population size or structure.

Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Ornate Numbfish is demersal on the continental shelf at depths of 48–132 m (Carvalho 2008). Little is known of its biology; it attains about 24 cm total length (TL), males mature at about 17–18 cm TL, females probably mature at the same size as males (Carvalho 2008, Last and Stevens 2009).

Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

This species is not known to be used commercially (Carvalho et al. 1999).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The main threat that may affect this numbfish is commercial fishing which has the potential to cause direct and indirect mortality and habitat modification. The species is known to occur in the region of the largest prawn trawl fishery in Australia, the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF), however it has not been recorded in the extensive bycatch surveys of this fishery (Stobutzki et al. 2002). This may be as it occurs at depths greater than 50 m and the majority of trawling in the NPF is in waters less than 40 m. A recent risk assessment for the NPF (Zhou and Griffiths 2008) identified this numbfish as having very low levels of risk from prawn trawling as it occurred mostly outside the fished area. At times, fishers from the NPF operate at greater depths (down to 300 m) targeting scampi in the Arafura Sea. However, the level of effort is very minimal and highly sporadic (C. Rigby, pers. obs., 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures currently in place. This is a potential bycatch species and research is required to improve knowledge of its life history characteristics and full geographic range.

Citation: Rigby, C. & Simpfendorfer, C. 2015. Narcine ornata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T195462A68635178. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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