Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Arhynchobatidae

Scientific Name: Notoraja azurea
Species Authority: McEachran & Last, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Blue Skate
Taxonomic Notes: The Blue Skate (Notoraja azurea) is a recently described species of Notoraja first recognized as distinct by Last and Stevens (1994). There is some regional variation in color pattern and meristics of this species that could result in separate species being described (Last and Stevens 2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-11-13
Assessor(s): James, K.C. & Ebert, D.A.
Reviewer(s): Fowler, S.L., Mull, C. & Simpfendorfer, C.
The Blue Skate (Notoraja azurea) was recently described from southern Australia and Tasmania. It has a wide geographic range and dwells in the deepsea (765 to 1,440 m). Its life history is not well known. There is little to no deepsea fishing (at the depths where this species occurs) in southern Australia or Tasmania and part of its range lies within marine protected areas, so there is little threat to this species and it is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Blue Skate is recognized from along the southern coast of Australia from Perth, Western Australia (ca 32ºS, 116ºE) to the Solitary Islands, New South Wales (ca 30ºS, 153ºE) and in Tasmanian waters (McEachran and Last 2008).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest
Lower depth limit (metres): 1440
Upper depth limit (metres): 765
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no information on population size or structure of the Blue Skate. The species is widely distributed through temperate Australia (Last and Stevens 2009).
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Blue Skate is known from 840 to 1,120 m off southern continental Australia and 765 to 1,440 m off Tasmania. Largest observed size was a female at 64.5 cm total length (TL) (McEachran and Last 2008). Smallest mature male observed at 53.5 cm TL and smallest free-swimming individual at 19.3 cm TL (McEachran and Last 2008). Most life history characteristics are unknown. Assumed to be oviparous.

Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no known use or trade of the Blue Skate.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known threats to the Blue Skate given that it lives below the maximum allowed depth of fishing in this region.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Blue Skate is protected mostly by the ban on fishing below 750 m in the region. Its geographic range also overlaps several marine protected areas in southern Australia including the Great Australian Bight Marine Park and the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network.

Citation: James, K.C. & Ebert, D.A. 2011. Notoraja azurea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T195465A8970897. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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