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Hydrolagus africanus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES CHIMAERIFORMES CHIMAERIDAE

Scientific Name: Hydrolagus africanus
Species Authority: (Gilchrist, 1922)
Common Name/s:
English African Chimaera
Taxonomic Notes: The small brown Hydrolagus sp. (Compagno et al. 1991) from southwestern Africa is quite probably Hydrolagus africanus. It is also possible there may actually be two species of Hydrolagus with overlapping ranges in this region; the second may be a new species or possibly referred to H. mirabilis. Research is ongoing in this area. Additional research is in progress to confirm identification of chimaeroid species from southwestern Africa.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Assessor/s: Compagno, L.J.V. & Dagit, D.D.
Reviewer/s: Kyne, P.M. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
This species has a confirmed range off Southern Africa in the Western Indian from Kenya, Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). Examination of a small brown Hydrolagus sp. from the Southeast Atlantic off South Africa and Namibia also appears to be H. africanus (and for the purposes of this assessment is considered so). This species is not known to be commercially targeted or utilized and its preferred habitat is outside the range of most, if not all, local artisanal and subsistence fisheries; however, the depth range of this species broadly overlaps with the operating depths of the demersal hake trawl and other fisheries off the Western Cape coast of South Africa, which presumably take it as discarded bycatch. Available experimental catch data from the South African Marine and Coastal Management?s research vessel RV Africana (dataset from 1986 to present) needs to be examined to determine if any trends can be delineated on the relative abundance of this species. It is suggested that the current assessment of Data Deficient be reevaluated once these data have been analyzed and taxonomic issues resolved. No data are available from northern Namibia or Kenya.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Southern Africa regional endemic known from the Western Indian off Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal) and most probably also the Southeast Atlantic off South Africa and Namibia.
Countries:
Native:
Kenya; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Nothing is known of population size or structure. Appears to be relatively uncommon, but further examination of catch records from research trawls may help in understanding relative abundance of this species. It is possible there may be separate populations in the Western Indian and Southeast Atlantic.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Little known, soft bottom dweller on the continental slope, reported from depths of 303 to 1,300 m but most commonly found at depths of 421 to 750 m.

Life history parameters
Age at maturity (years): Unknown.
Size at maturity (body/total length): Probably sexually mature at ~35 to 40 cm BDL; ~50 to 55 cm TL (male & female).
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (total/body length): To at least 98 cm TL (including tail filament); 47 cm BDL.
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 known to be commercially targeted; however, the depth range of this species broadly overlaps with the operating depths of the demersal hake trawl and other fisheries off the Western Cape coast of South Africa, and H. africanus is presumably taken as discarded bycatch. This species could be threatened by expansion of the South Africa deepwater hake trawl fishery and any extension of other fisheries into the deepwater range of Hydrolagus africanus.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None are known to be in place. It is recommended that more data on catch and life history characteristics be collected.

The development and implementation of national management plans (e.g., under the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks: IPOA?Sharks) will help facilitate the conservation and management of all chondrichthyan species in the region. Namibia adopted its National Plan of Action (NPOA) in 2004. South Africa?s NPOA is drafted and at the time of writing is still awaiting government approval: it is a matter of urgency to adopt and implement this NPOA. NPOAs have not yet been developed for Mozambique or Kenya.
Citation: Compagno, L.J.V. & Dagit, D.D. 2006. Hydrolagus africanus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 April 2014.
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