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Cephaloscyllium variegatum

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES CARCHARHINIFORMES SCYLIORHINIDAE

Scientific Name: Cephaloscyllium variegatum
Species Authority: Last & White, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Saddled Swellshark
Synonym(s):
Cephaloscyllium sp. [Last & Stevens, 1994] subspecies B
Taxonomic Notes:

The two undescribed species referred to in Last and Stevens (1994) as Cephaloscyllium sp. B and Cephaloscyllium sp. C are considered to be the same species by Last and White (2008) and Last and Stevens (2009), and were described as the Saddled Swellshark Cephaloscyllium variegatum by Last and White (2008). However, Last and Stevens (2009) note that the lumping of the tropical and temperate forms of the species (Cephaloscyllium sp. B and Cephaloscyllium sp. C, respectively) is provisional. Their relationship still requires some examination.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-01-20
Assessor(s): Kyne, P.M. & Barratt, P.J.
Reviewer(s): Carlson, J. & Dulvy, N.
Justification:

The Saddled Swellshark (Cephaloscyllium variegatum) is a recently described Australian species. This assessment replaces the 2003 IUCN Red List assessments for the, at the time, undescribed Cephaloscyllium sp. nov. B and Cephaloscyllium sp. nov. C, which are considered to represent the same species.

The Saddled Swellshark is endemic to the east coast of Australia off Queensland and New South Wales. It occurs on the outer continental shelf and upper slope in depths of 114–606 m. It is known to be rare and there are virtually no data on the biology of this endemic species. The southern portion of the species’ range (southern Queensland and New South Wales) receives high trawling effort from prawn and fish trawl fisheries, and declines in slope Cephaloscyllium spp. have been documented off New South Wales. Current fishing effort, however, in the northern portion of its range (central and northern Queensland) is low. The majority of its depth range is on the upper continental slope where the area of available habitat is narrow. Given the species’ apparent rarity, relatively restricted distribution and the intensity of trawling in the southern half of its range, it is considered likely to be close to Vulnerable (A2bd) and therefore assessed as Near Threatened. Any future expansion of trawling effort in the north would increase risk. Research is required to determine population size and, therefore, more accurately assess its conservation status. If the species is found to have significant refuge at depth in unfished areas of the north, an assessment of Least Concern may prove more appropriate in the future.

History:
2003 Data Deficient (IUCN 2003)
2003 Data Deficient

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The Saddled Swellshark (Cephaloscyllium variegatum) is endemic to the east coast of Australia from off Rockingham Bay (Queensland) to off Tathra (New South Wales). It may also occur on the Britannia Seamount (off southern Queensland) (Last and White 2008, Last and Stevens 2009).

Countries:
Native:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:

The Saddled Swellshark is a poorly known species which is thought to be quite rare.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Saddled Swellshark occurs on the outer continental shelf and uppermost slope, at depths of 114–606 m (Last and White 2008, Last and Stevens 2009). This is a very poorly known species, and very little is known about its habitat and ecology. This species is oviparous and attains a maximum size of at least 74 cm total length (TL). Males mature at 55–60 cm TL and the smallest free-swimming individuals reported are 17 cm TL (Last and White 2008, Last and Stevens 2009).

Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no use or trade of the Saddled Swellshark.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The southern portion of the Saddled Swellshark’s range (southern Queensland and New South Wales) receives high trawling effort from prawn and fish trawl fisheries. Declines of Cephaloscyllium spp. have been documented off New South Wales. Graham et al. (2001) documented declines of >30% for “Whitefin Swell Shark” (Cephaloscyllium sp. A sensu Last and Stevens, 1994, which was recently described as C. albipinnum Last, Motomura & White, 2008) over a twenty-year period on the New South Wales upper slope as a result of intensive fishing pressure. Last et al. (2008) note that in fact these declines probably refer to the Saddled Swellshark. In any instance, it demonstrates the impact of upper slope commercial trawling on swellsharks. Fishing effort on the New South Wales upper slope remains high.

Current fishing effort, however, in the northern portion of its range (central and northern Queensland) is low. The majority of its depth range is on the upper continental slope where the area of available habitat is narrow. Any future expansion of trawling effort in the north would increase risk.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no conservation actions in place for the Saddled Swellshark.

Citation: Kyne, P.M. & Barratt, P.J. 2011. Cephaloscyllium variegatum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 November 2014.
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