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Torpedo sinuspersici

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES RAJIFORMES TORPEDINIDAE

Scientific Name: Torpedo sinuspersici
Species Authority: Olfers, 1831
Common Name(s):
English Gulf Torpedo, Marbled Electric Ray
Taxonomic Notes: This species was described with no type specimen and locality (Wallace 1967), although it has been presumed to be the Persian Gulf (Compagno 1986, Carvalho et al. 2002). It is considered to be one of the most widely distributed electric rays of the Western Indian Ocean (Carvalho et al. 2002). However, the status of this species is uncertain and needs revision following the discovery of what appears to be a species complex of similar, but apparently localized endemic electric rays at various localities in the Western Indian Ocean and elsewhere (Compagno and Smale unpubl. data). The present account is therefore highly provisional and follows Wallace (1967) and Cavalho et al. (2002) until the review is completed. In the event that the high endemicity of members of the species complex is true, the status of electric rays would likely be revised upwards, on the basis of small populations with localised distributions.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Assessor(s): Smale, M.J.
Reviewer(s): Fowler, S.L. & Kyne, P.M. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
A large (to 130 cm total length) electric ray with a patchy distribution across a wide area of the Western Indian Ocean. Occurs primarily in shallow waters on sandy areas and near reefs. However, the presently recognised T. sinuspersici may prove to be a species-complex of more localized endemic species. Research to address this issue is ongoing and will govern the degree of threat facing this species or group of species. Demersal trawl fisheries operate across parts of the range of T. sinuspersici and it is taken as a bycatch in these fisheries, but is discarded and not utilized. It is assessed as Data Deficient because of a lack of distribution and biological information, derived mainly from uncertainty over its systematic status.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Currently understood to be a single species distributed along the east coast of southern Africa from the Eastern Cape of South Africa to Mozambique, Madagascar, the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and India. However, work in progress may reveal that this is a species complex of highly localized endemic species.
Countries:
Native:
Bahrain; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Kuwait; Madagascar; Mozambique; Oman; Saudi Arabia; South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal); Sudan; United Arab Emirates; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – western
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Distribution is at present patchy and fragmented, however, this may represent the distributions of several localized endemic species.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Found in shallow waters on sandy areas and near reefs and also well offshore to 200 m (Compagno et al. 1989). Little known of the species' biology or ecology. Viviparous, like other electric rays, and reported to have litters of 9 to 22 young (Compagno et al. 1989). Reaches ~130 cm TL, but mostly less than 100 cm TL (Compagno et al. 1989).

Life history parameters
Age at maturity (years): Unknown.
Size at maturity (total length cm): Unknown.
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (total length): ~130 cm TL (if single species).
Size at birth (cm): Unknown.
Average reproductive age (years): Unknown.
Gestation time (months): Unknown.
Reproductive periodicity: Unknown.
Average annual fecundity or litter size: 9 to 22 young per litter.
Annual rate of population increase: Unknown.
Natural mortality: Unknown.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Impacts from fisheries will need review if this species turns out to represent a species complex of restricted endemics. Sluggish electric rays are susceptible to capture in trawl fisheries where they are a discarded bycatch. Trawl fisheries operate across parts of the species' present range. Post-capture survivorship is thought to be low.

Habitat degradation may be affecting this species, where development pressure is high or where coral reef systems are being impacted upon through pollution, destructive fishing practices or other human activities.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Review when taxonomic status known, but catches will need to be monitored in fisheries when taken.

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 T. sinuspersici.

Citation: Smale, M.J. 2006. Torpedo sinuspersici. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 September 2014.
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