Harriotta haeckeli 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Chimaeriformes Rhinochimaeridae

Scientific Name: Harriotta haeckeli
Species Authority: Karrer, 1972
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Smallspine Spookfish
Spanish Quimera De Espina Pequeña
Taxonomic Notes: Two very small juveniles were originally described by Bigelow and Schroeder as H. raleighana. However, it was recognised by Karrer in her 1972 description of H. haeckli, and by others, that some references to H. raleighana from the Canary Islands may actually be referred to H. haeckeli.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-02-19
Assessor(s): Dagit, D.D. & Walls, R.H.L.
Reviewer(s): Dulvy, N.K. & Kyne, P.M.
Contributor(s): Kyne, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M. & Walls, R.H.L.
The Smallspine Spookfish (Harriotta haeckeli) is a benthic chimaera that occurs on deepwater slopes and troughs at depths of 1,114−2,603 m. This poorly-known species has a patchy known occurrence in the North Atlantic, southern Indian and Southwest Pacific Oceans. Capture records from the Atlantic Ocean are rare, while a number of specimens have been located recently around New Zealand. It may be more abundant and widespread in deeper waters where surveys and fishing effort is limited. This species is not known to be commercially fished, but it may be taken as bycatch in some deepwater fishing activities. Limited overlap between its habitat and the current scope of deepwater fisheries suggests that the risk of fisheries exploitation is very low at this time. For this reason, this species is assessed as Least Concern, but any future expansion of deepwater fisheries would need to be monitored.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2006 Data Deficient (DD)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Smallspine Spookfish has a patchy occurrence and it is likely that its range is more continuous throughout the North Atlantic and the southern Indian and Pacific Oceans, but this has not been confirmed due to the lack of fisheries operating in the deep waters where it occurs. In the Northwest and Northeast Atlantic, it has been confirmed off Greenland, and the Davis Strait (between Canada and Greenland) to Hudson Canyon (Virginia, USA) (Ebert and Stehmann 2013). In the Eastern Central Atlantic, it occurs around the Canary Islands and possibly off northwest Africa (Didier 2006, Ebert and Stehmann 2013). It is also known from submarine seamounts of the Indian Ocean, New Zealand waters in the Southwest Pacific, and off southeast Australia around Tasmania and Victoria (Last and Stevens 2009). This species has also been reported from the Northwest Atlantic off New York (Krefft 1990) however, this report has not been confirmed.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Tasmania, Victoria); Canada; Greenland; New Zealand; Spain (Canary Is.); United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – northeast; Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – southwest
Lower depth limit (metres): 2603
Upper depth limit (metres): 1114
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Nothing is known about population size or structure, as catch records are rare. Records are rare from the Atlantic, but recent deepwater trawling around New Zealand has revealed a number of specimens from that region. Capture records indicate this species occurs at depths greater than 1,000 m and may be more abundant in deeper waters where surveys are presently more limited. It is likely that the North Atlantic is a single subpopulation with possible separate subpopulations in the southern hemisphere.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This benthic chimaeroid occurs on deepwater slopes and troughs at depths of 1,114−2,603 m in the Northeast and Eastern Central Atlantic (Ebert and Stehmann 2013). In the Indian Ocean it has been recorded from 1,400−2,600 m depth around submarine seamounts, while records from off southeastern Australia were from 1,480−1,950 m (Last and Stevens 2009). Little is known about the reproductive biology, but it is assumed to be an egg-laying species like other chimaeroids (Ebert and Stehmann 2013). The maximum recorded size is ~72 cm without tail filament. Size at maturity is ~60 cm total length (TL) and ~25 cm body length (BDL) for females, and ~45 cm TL and ~20 cm BDL for males (Ebert and Stehmann 2013).
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Not known to be utilized as generally occurs deeper than commercial fishing activities.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

This species is not commercially fished, but may be caught in deepwater bottom trawls incidentally. However, its very deep occurrence (to 2,600 m) places it outside of the reach of current commercial fishing activities, although any future expansion into deeper waters would need to be monitored.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

No species-specific management or conservation measures are in place. Additional information needs to be collected for this species. Accurate reporting of all captures will enhance our understanding of its geographic range and deposition of specimens in museum collections will allow for further biological and molecular studies. Additionally, deepwater fisheries effort within this species' range should be monitored, and this assessment revisited in the event of any future expansion.

Citation: Dagit, D.D. & Walls, R.H.L. 2015. Harriotta haeckeli. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T60139A70709321. . Downloaded on 25 November 2015.
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