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Rhinochimaera africana

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES CHIMAERIFORMES RHINOCHIMAERIDAE

Scientific Name: Rhinochimaera africana
Species Authority: Compagno, Stehmann & Ebert, 1990
Common Name(s):
English Paddlenose Chimaera, Paddlenose Spookfish
Taxonomic Notes: Synonym: Rhinochimaera pacifica Kobayashi and Sakura (1967), Nakaya (1984a, 1984b), Inada (1997), Shao and Hwang (1997).
This species had long been misidentified in Japan as Rhinochimaera pacifica, and it was not until 1990 that the species was described from southern Africa and subsequently identified as separate from Rhinochimaera pacifica from Japan and Taiwan.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Assessor(s): Dagit, D.D.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M., Fowler, S.L. & Compagno, L.J.V. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
Rhinochimaera Africana has only recently been recognized as a distinct new species from Southern Africa, Japan and Taiwan. Generally occurs on deepwater slopes and seamounts at depths of 500 to 1,500 m. Very little is known about this species and nothing is known of the biology, ecology or reproduction. In Taiwan, this species is taken as bycatch when encountered, and is landed in fish markets. Not known to be taken elsewhere, but likely forms a component of bycatch where deepwater trawling overlaps with its range. Landing of this species in Taiwan appears to be a more recent occurrence, suggesting that fishers are moving into deeper waters, probably as a result of the depletion of shallower water resources. As such, there is a potential threat to populations and habitats due to deepwater trawl fishery operations as well as increased attention toward new deepwater target species as more lucrative species are overfished. At present, little information is available on the species and there is a great need for more information on its distribution, biology and bycatch in order to accurately assess its conservation status.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The known distribution is spotty with confirmed reports from the southwestern Indian Ocean off Southern Africa and the Mozambique Channel. Also known from the East China Sea from Taiwan to Hokkaido, Japan including the Okinawa Trough.
Countries:
Native:
China; Japan; Mozambique; South Africa; Taiwan, Province of China
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – northwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Nothing is known of population structure although populations from the northwestern Pacific and Indian ocean may be separate. It is also possible that this species forms a continuous widespread population throughout the Indian Ocean and northwestern Pacific.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Deepwater and benthic, generally occurring on deepwater slopes and seamounts at depths of 500 to 1,500 m.

Life history parameters
Age at maturity (years): Unknown.
Size at maturity (body length): ~50 cm BDL (female); ~40 to 50 cm BDL (male).
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (total/ body length): ~150 cm TL (65 cm BDL; females generally larger than males).
Size at birth (cm): Unknown.
Average reproductive age (years): Unknown.
Gestation time (months): Unknown.
Reproductive periodicity: Unknown.
Average annual fecundity or litter size: Unknown.
Annual rate of population increase: Unknown.
Natural mortality: Unknown.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In Taiwan, this species is taken as bycatch when encountered, and is landed in fish markets (W. White, pers. comm.). Not known to be taken elsewhere, but likely forms a component of bycatch where deepwater trawling overlaps with its range. Landing of this species in Taiwan appears to be a more recent occurrence, suggesting that fishers are moving into deeper waters, probably as a result of the depletion of shallower water resources. As such, there is a potential threat to populations and habitats due to deepwater trawl fishery operations as well as increased attention toward new deepwater target species as more lucrative species are overfished.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None known to exist. Study of this species is recommended, particularly with regard to geographic distribution, biology, and population structure. In particular, accurate reporting of all captures will aid in understanding the species range and distribution.

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 R. Africana.

Citation: Dagit, D.D. 2006. Rhinochimaera africana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 August 2014.
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