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Somniosus antarcticus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES SQUALIFORMES SOMNIOSIDAE

Scientific Name: Somniosus antarcticus
Species Authority: Whitley, 1939
Common Name(s):
English Southern Sleeper Shark, Whitely's Sleeper Shark
Taxonomic Notes: Synonym = Somniosus pacificus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Annotations:
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Stevens, J. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003)
Reviewer(s): Shark Specialist Group Australia & Oceania Regional Group (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
A large dogfish species which is taken as bycatch in the orange roughy, Patagonian toothfish and other deepwater fisheries. It is only in the last five years or so that this species has started to be reported; although not very rare, little is known of catch rates and nothing about population numbers.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species may be more widely distributed in the Southern Ocean than current records suggest.
Countries:
Native:
Australia (Tasmania); New Zealand; South Africa
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – southwest; Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – southeast; Pacific – southwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Nothing is known about population size.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: On or near the bottom with current records from 400 to 1,100 m. Stomach contents are mainly fish, cephalopods (particularly Mesonychoteuthis) and marine mammal remains. In the Tasman Sea and around Macquarie Island, cephalopods occurred in 80% of stomachs, fish in 47%, marine mammals in 33%, birds in 7% and other items in 13% (Yano et al. in prep, van Wijk et al. 2001). The relatively frequent presence of fast active prey suggests that this sluggish species may employ some kind of ambush strategy.

Ovoviviparous with size at birth around 40 cm; litter size, gestation, reproductive periodicity, age and growth are unknown.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The spread of deep water fisheries in cool temperate and sub-antarctic waters will increasingly impact on this species which is taken as bycatch in trawl and hook fisheries, such as those currently exploiting orange roughy and Patagonian toothfish. About 44 specimens were captured in the Macquarie Island toothfish fishery between 1996 and 2000 (van Wijk et al. 2001).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Specimens caught in the Australian toothfish fishery are released, however, survival rates are unknown.

Citation: Stevens, J. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003) 2003. Somniosus antarcticus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 December 2014.
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