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Urobatis halleri

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES RAJIFORMES UROTRYGONIDAE

Scientific Name: Urobatis halleri
Species Authority: (Cooper, 1863)
Common Name(s):
English Round Stingray
Synonym(s):
Urolophus halleri Cooper, 1863
Taxonomic Notes: The species was originally placed in the genus Urolophus, but was later moved by Garman (1913) into his newly erected genus Urobatis, which included all eastern Pacific and western North Atlantic round stingrays. The genus Urolophus is restricted to the stingarees found in the Indo-West Pacific. Both genera are frequently seen in the literature for eastern Pacific forms, but current research suggests that Urobatis is the correct genus (Ebert 2003). Urobatis is sometimes placed in the family Urolophidae, however this placement is incorrect and the family Urotrygonidae is valid (McEachran et al. 1996).

The relationship between U. halleri and the sympatric U. maculates and U. concentricus is currently under investigation (J. McEachran pers. comm.). These species may be valid separate species or may be synonymized in the future.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Assessor(s): Ebert, D.A.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M., Fowler, S.L., Compagno, L.J.V. & Cavanagh, R.D. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
Urobatis halleri is a small (to 31 cm disc width), common inshore stingray found along the coastal waters of the eastern Pacific. It is distributed from northern California to Panama but appears to be most common between southern California and Baja California. It is not fished commercially, but is occasionally taken by recreational fishers and by artisanal fisheries. This species is also likely taken incidentally by Mexican shrimp trawlers, but the extent of this practice is not well known and no species-specific information is documented. When caught in artisanal fisheries it is generally discarded and its small size and large tail spine make it an undesirable target species. However, in Mexico, the tail is usually cleaved off before it is returned to the sea, which may result in high mortality of discards (Bizzarro, pers. comm). This species matures after 2.6 years with a biannual reproductive cycle, making it a relatively productive batoid. As the species is generally abundant where it occurs, is productive, and as there are no major threats apparent (particularly there are little threats to the species in southern California where is it very abundant) it is assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species ranges from Humboldt Bay in northern California to Panama in Central America, but appears to be most common between southern California and Baja California. Individuals identified as this species from Central America should be examined carefully as the genus is poorly known in this region.
Countries:
Native:
Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; United States (California)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northeast
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Nothing is known about the population status of this species, although it is quite abundant in those areas where it occurs.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Urobatis halleri is a benthic warm-temperate to tropical round stingray usually found in nearshore waters less than 15 m deep, but may occur down to 91 m depth (McEachran and Notarbartolo di Sciara 1995, Ebert 2003). These stingrays prefer soft bottoms composed of mud or sand, often in areas where eelgrass, used for camouflage, is quite abundant. Water temperature plays an important role in the distribution of these stingrays since they prefer temperatures above a minimum of 10°C (Ebert 2003).

Has a biannual reproductive cycle with two litters of 1 to 6 pups (on average 2 to 3) following a short gestation period of three months (Babel 1967, Ebert 2003). Life history parameters taken from Babel (1967), unless otherwise stated.

Life history parameters
Age at maturity: 2.6 years (both male and female).
Size at maturity (disc width): 14.5 cm DW (female); 14.6 cm DW (male).
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (disc width): 31 cm DW.
Size at birth: 6 to 8 cm DW.
Average reproductive age (years): Unknown.
Gestation time: 3 months.
Reproductive periodicity: Biannual.
Average annual fecundity or litter size: Litter size: range 1 to 6, but average 2 to 3 (Ebert 2003). Two cycles per year.
Annual rate of population increase: Unknown.
Natural mortality: Unknown.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is not fished commercially, but is occasionally taken by recreational fishers and by artisanal gillnet fisheries. When caught in artisanal fisheries it is generally discarded. Before being returned to the sea, its tail is commonly severed, which may lead to increased levels of mortality (J. Bizzarro, pers. comm.). Its small size and large tail spine make it an undesirable target species.

In Mexico, artisanal or commercial fisheries do not typically utilize urobatid rays as their small size generally precludes their sale as a viable food item for market purposes (J. Bizzarro, pers comm.). This species is also likely taken incidentally by shrimp trawlers, but the extent of this practice is not well known and no species-specific information is documented.

Little information is available concerning bycatch levels in the southern portion of the species' range, although the situation is likely similar to that in Mexico, where the species is not targeted and discarded when caught.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None in place.

The development and implementation of management plans (national and/or regional e.g., under the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks: IPOA?Sharks) are required to facilitate the conservation and sustainable management of all chondrichthyan species in the region. See Anon. (2004) for an update of progress made by nations in the range of U. halleri.

Citation: Ebert, D.A. 2006. Urobatis halleri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 August 2014.
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