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Diplobatis colombiensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES RAJIFORMES NARCINIDAE

Scientific Name: Diplobatis colombiensis
Species Authority: Fechhelm & McEachran, 1984
Common Name(s):
English Colombian Electric Ray
Spanish Torpedo
Taxonomic Notes: The dorsal colour pattern consist in brown spots ranging from ¼ to 1 times the size of the orbits, arranged fairly symmetrically on the disc, pectoral fins and tail, which distinguish it from the sympatric D. guamachensis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2bd+3bd+4bd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Assessor(s): Caldas, J.P., de Carvalho, M.R. & McCord, M.E.
Reviewer(s): Caldas, J.P., De Carvalho, M.R.& McCord, M.E. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
Diplobatis colombiensis has a very restricted distribution in the Western Central Atlantic, where it is known only off the Caribbean coast of northern Colombia at depths of 30 to 100 m. Little information is available on this small (to 17 cm total length) batoid, and information concerning biology, population dynamics and status are generally lacking. The Colombian electric ray is sympatric with the more common Diplobatis guamachensis in parts of its range and due to identification difficulties between these species, it may be more heavily fished than currently thought. However, most of the range of D. colombiensis is distinct from that of D. guamachensis. The species is taken as bycatch in trawl fisheries and the genus Diplobatis has been shown to have a 27.5% occurrence in the captures of the offshore trawl fishery in the region. Even though little information is available on the species, its high level of endemicity indicates that this species is threatened by high levels of incidental fishing mortality and it is assessed as Vulnerable as a precautionary measure given its restricted distribution in mostly heavily trawled areas.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Known only from the coast of northern Colombia, in the Caribbean Sea.
Countries:
Native:
Colombia
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species has a limited distribution. Caldas et al. (in prep.) show evidence of intra-populational variation in coloration patterns and geographical range for specimens collected throughout the northern coast from Colombia. There are shared regions (Tayrona National Natural Park-La Guajira) between D. colombiensis and D. guamachensis, where individuals show color patterns that are intermediate between the characteristics of each species. This intermediate coloration suggests that populations of this species are genetically mixed in some areas, resulting in interactions between individuals with specific characteristics that combine in this region.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is benthic on the continental shelf at depths of 30 to 100 m (McEachran and Carvalho 2002).The region inhabited by D. colombiensis is characterized by hard sand with zones of soft mud and areas with coral reef development. The area has limited fluctuations in salinity.

Very little known of the species' biology. Reaches a maximum size of 17 cm TL (McEachran and Carvalho 2002) and maturity in males is estimated to be 10 cm TL (Caldas et al. in prep.).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Demersal trawl fisheries operate over the species' limited area of occurrence. Medina (2002) reports Diplobatis pictus as bycatch in shrimp trawl fisheries. These catch surveys were in the geographic range of both D. guamachensis and D. colombiensis, and so specific information on D. colombiensis is not available (D. pictus does not occur in Colombia, being known from southeastern Venezuela to northern Brazil).

Because of identification problems, the species may be more frequently caught than suspected.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Diplobatis colombiensis occurs in the Tayrona National Natural Park area, a Colombian nature reserve. This area is closed to fishing with trawl nets and only an artisanal fishery exists. However, there are no known documents records of this species from fishermen at Tayrona Park.

An adequate conservation program for the Colombian Guajira peninsula is needed. This area supports extraordinary species richness, including several southern Caribbean endemics. Plans for developing and exploiting mineral resources in the Guajira continental shelf and slope during the 21st century must consider this fact (Caldas et al. in prep.).

Citation: Caldas, J.P., de Carvalho, M.R. & McCord, M.E. 2006. Diplobatis colombiensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 July 2014.
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