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Hypogaleus hyugaensis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Triakidae

Scientific Name: Hypogaleus hyugaensis
Species Authority: (Miyosi, 1939)
Common Name(s):
English Pencil Shark, Blacktip Topeshark
Eugaleus hyugaensis Miyosi, 1939
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. and Van der Laan, R. (eds). 2016. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 2 May 2016. Available at: (Accessed: 2 May 2016).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-02-17
Assessor(s): Simpfendorfer, C. & Compagno, L.J.V.
Reviewer(s): Dulvy, N.K., Lawson, J. & Kyne, P.M.
Contributor(s): Baje, L.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M., Walls, R.H.L., Simpfendorfer, C. & Chin, A.
The Pencil Shark (Hypogaleus hyugaensis) is a small triakid shark with a patchy distribution in the Indo-West Pacific (eastern Africa, southern Australia, Taiwan, Japan). There are some life history data available, but age and growth information is lacking. Its patchy distribution and naturally low abundance throughout its range, and presence in countries with significant fisheries (Taiwan, Japan) increase the potential for fishing pressure to cause population reduction. Overall, there is a lack of information on catches and status from outside of Australia, but the low level and recent stability of catches off Western Australia (where it is a component of a demersal gillnet fishery) suggests that it is sustainably fished there. This warrants a global assessment of Least Concern as Australia represents a significant proportion of the species' range. Further details of catches outside of Australia are needed.
Previously published Red List assessments:
  • 2005 – Near Threatened (NT)
  • 2000 – Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Pencil Shark has a disjunct distribution in the Indo-West Pacific where it has been recorded in the Northwest Pacific from Japan (Miyosi 1939) and Taiwan (Chen 1963), southern Australia (Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland; Heald 1987, Last and Stevens 2009), and in the Western Indian from South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal), Tanzania (Zanzibar) and Kenya (Smith 1957, Bass et al. 1975). Compagno (1988) dismissed the reported occurrence of this species from the Arabian Gulf as a case of a misidentified species (Paragaleus randalli).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia); Japan; Kenya; South Africa; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):480
Upper depth limit (metres):40
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are limited data available on the status of the Pencil Shark population. It generally occurs in low abundance (Ebert et al. 2013). In Australia, catch rate data from the southwest indicate that the population was stable until 1999 (Simpfendorfer et al. 2002); there are no new data available from this region. It is rarely encountered off southeast Australia (T. Walker, pers. comm., 2000; Last and Stevens 2009). There are no population trend data from other regions. There is no information available on the population structure and it is unknown whether there are discrete subpopulations in the Western Indian Ocean, off Australia and in the Northwest Pacific off Japan and Taiwan.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Pencil Shark occurs over the continental shelf mainly at depths of 40–230 m, and rarely on the upper slope to a depth of 480 m (Last and Stevens 2009). Its diet (squid and pelagic teleosts) suggest that it is more bentho-pelagic than truly demersal (and therefore, may not be well sampled in research surveys and also it may be less susceptible to capture in demersal fishing gears). It is reported to reach 150 cm total length (TL) (Last and Stevens 2009), although Bass et al. (1975) reported specimens up to 127 cm TL from the eastern African coast, reports from Asia are all for specimens less than 90 cm, and the maximum size of this species recorded from extensive catch sampling in the Western Australia shark fishery is 117 cm TL (Simpfendorfer et al. 2002). 

The Pencil Shark is placental viviparous and has been reported to have a seasonal reproductive cycle (Bass et al. 1975, Stevens 1990). Results from biological monitoring of the catch of the Western Australia commercial shark fishery have provided a clearer picture of the reproductive biology of the Pencil Shark (Simpfendorfer et al. 2002). Males mature at approximately 98 cm TL and females at approximately 102 cm TL. Ovulation occurs in March and April, while the largest embryos are observed from December to February. The gestation period is probably around 10–11 months. Litter sizes range from 3–15, with a mean of 10. On the basis of full term embryos, the size at birth is approximately 30 cm TL, a value similar to that of 33–35 cm TL suggested by Bass et al. (1975) from full term embryos observed in southern Africa. Pregnant females do not produce yolky ova, suggesting that breeding occurs every second year.
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In southwest Australia the Pencil Shark is taken as a byproduct species by gillnet fisheries. Elsewhere, it is occasionally taken in fisheries, but is not known to be targeted.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no targeted fisheries for the Pencil Shark, but it is caught as bycatch in a number of fisheries throughout its range, including Australia, South Africa and Japan. It is taken in demersal gillnets set by commercial shark fishers in Western Australia (Simpfendorfer and Donohue 1998). Catch and effort data are available in this fishery from 1989–1999 and show that although catches have decreased over this period the catch rates have remained stable, suggesting there has been little impact on the population (Simpfendorfer et al. 2002). Little is known of this species in Taiwan and Japan, but both countries have large inshore demersal fisheries that may catch this species. It is also caught in trawl fisheries off the east coast of southern and eastern Africa, including the shrimp trawl fishery off KwaZulu-Natal (Bass et al. 1975). Little data are available for this fishery, but intensive fishing may have caused some decline in the stock. There are currently no data available on the occurrence of this species in other commercial fisheries. However, it is probable that it is caught in bottom fisheries (e.g., trawl, gillnet and longline) on the outer continental shelf where it occurs. It is unlikely to be caught regularly in artisanal fisheries because of its primary occurrence in deeper parts of the continental shelf.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are currently no specific management or conservation measures in place for this species. However, the directed shark fishery in Western Australia that catches this species is a limited entry fishery with effort controls and gear restrictions (Simpfendorfer and Donohue 1998).

Citation: Simpfendorfer, C. & Compagno, L.J.V. 2016. Hypogaleus hyugaensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T39354A68630213. . Downloaded on 28 July 2016.
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