Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Chimaeriformes Chimaeridae

Scientific Name: Chimaera lignaria
Species Authority: Didier, 2002
Common Name(s):
English Giant Chimaera, Carpenter’s Chimaera, Giant Purple Chimaera
Taxonomic Notes: Synonyms = Chimaera sp. B (Hardy 1990, Paulin et al. 1989), Chimaera sp. D. (Last and Stevens 1994).

Although only recently described (in 2002) this species has long been known to occur on deep-water slopes and fishing grounds around New Zealand and Tasmania (Paulin et al. 1989, Hardy 1990, Last and Stevens 1994).

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)
Chimaera lignaria appears to be moderately abundant within its range, but this large species may be slow-growing with low fecundity. The known range is restricted to New Zealand and Tasmania, Australia. Oviparous, but nothing is known of reproductive biology and no information is available with regard to population structure or ecology of the species. Although not known to be commercially fished, C. lignaria is threatened as bycatch in benthic deepwater trawls targeting teleost species, although the only study available (South Tasman Rise Fishery) indicates that Chimaera spp. are a negligible component of bycatch. Future threats include any expansion of deepwater fishing within its range and the potential for developing commercial fisheries for this species. More information on bycatch of this species is needed and careful attention to a potential commercial fishery for this species is recommended.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Currently known only from around New Zealand and Tasmania. It is unknown if this species is restricted to specific deepwater slopes or if it's possible the species is widespread in deep waters throughout the Southern Ocean.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Tasmania); New Zealand
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A significant number of adults and some juveniles have been collected from deepwater research and commercial trawls indicating a diverse population in the areas where these fish are known to occur, but otherwise nothing is known of population size or structure.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Benthic on deepwater slopes and plateaus at depths of 400 to 1,800 m, but most commonly found at depths greater than 800 m (Didier 2002). Nothing is known of the biology of this species, but given its large size it may be slow-growing with low fecundity. Maximum size 142 cm TL (may be around 150 cm TL). Males and females appear to reach sexual maturity at about 60 to 70cm body length (BDL).

Life history parameters
Age at maturity (years): Unknown.
Size at maturity (body length): 60 to 70 cm BDL (estimate) (male & female).
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (total length): 142 to 150 cm TL (estimate).
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): Not currently known to be commercially fished, the major threat to this species is as bycatch in benthic deepwater trawls targeting teleost species on the fishing grounds around New Zealand and Tasmania where C. lignaria is most commonly found. Bycatch details are not available and a study of the bycatch of the South Tasman Rise Trawl Fishery (STRF) did not record this species in 545 tows between November 1998 and September 2000 (Anderson and Clark 2003). The STRF targets orange roughy and other deepwater teleost species south of Tasmania as a straddling stock between Australia and New Zealand and operates in the known area of occurrence and depth of C. lignaria.

Anderson and Clark (2003) did however report negligible bycatch of "Chimaera spp.", which would probably have included Chimaera lignaria together with the southern chimaera Chimaera sp. A [Last & Stevens, 1994], both of which are known from the area of the fishery. The estimated catch of "Chimaera spp." in 545 tows was 0.1t, representing <0.1% of the total catch (Anderson and Clark 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Not known to be subject to any management or conservation measures. More information from commercial fisheries with regard to bycatch of this species is needed. It is recommended that this species be monitored with regard to emergence of deepwater fisheries in the future that might target this large species for human consumption.

Citation: Dagit, D.D. 2006. Chimaera lignaria. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T60185A12304550. . Downloaded on 08 October 2015.
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