Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Myliobatidae

Scientific Name: Aetobatus flagellum
Species Authority: (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
Common Name(s):
English Longheaded Eagle Ray
Raja flagellum Bloch & Schneider, 1801
Taxonomic Notes: Poorly represented in collections.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2d+3d+4d ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Assessor(s): White, W.T.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M., Fowler, S.L. & Compagno, L.J.V. (Shark Red List Authority)
Aetobatus flagellum is a small (to 47 cm disc width), uncommon, inshore Indo-West Pacific eagle ray which is highly susceptible to a variety of fishing methods in regions where the level of exploitation of marine resources is extremely high. This species has a disjunct distribution off Pakistan, India, Indonesia (Java), and southern China, occurring primarily on the inner continental shelf. It is suspected to have limiting life history parameters similar to other myliobatid rays (including low fecundity). Very few specimens are landed from any fisheries, but all of its known range is very heavily exploited. This species is assessed as EN under the criteria of A2d+3d+4d due to the very high (and increasing) level of fishing pressure in inshore regions where it occurs, which is of great concern given that it is a naturally very uncommon species with limiting life history characteristics.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Disjunct distribution in the Western and Eastern Indian, Western Central and Northwest Pacific.
Countries occurrence:
China; India; Indonesia (Jawa); Pakistan
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Appears to be naturally uncommon. Little known species.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Occurs primarily inshore on the inner continental shelf. Reproductive biology, age and growth and dietary compositions are unknown for this species. Suspected low fecundity as with other myliobatids, for example Aetobatus narinari and Aetomylaeus nichofii, which bear litters of up to four offspring (Last and Stevens 1994, Compagno and Last 1999).

Life history parameters
Age at maturity (years): Unknown.
Size at maturity (total length cm): Unknown.
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (total length): 126 cm TL; 47 cm DW (Compagno and Last 1999).
Size at birth (cm): Unknown.
Average reproductive age (years): Unknown.
Gestation time (months): Unknown.
Reproductive periodicity: Unknown.
Average annual fecundity or litter size: Up to 4 (based on similar species)
Annual rate of population increase: Unknown.
Natural mortality: Unknown.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Highly susceptible to a variety of inshore demersal fisheries, including trawls, gillnets and trammel nets. All individuals caught are retained in most areas. Irregularly landed in the fish markets of Jakarta by trawlers (W. White, unpublished data). This species is recorded off Indian coastal waters in the intensive demersal fisheries that occur in that region (Hanfee 1999). There is very high level of exploitation on the habitat that this species occurs in throughout its entire range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None at present. Careful monitoring of catches of this species throughout its range need to be carried out into the future due to this high level of exploitation that occurs in its known range.

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 A. flagellum.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.1. Marine Neritic - Pelagic
suitability: Marginal  
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.9. Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)
suitability: Marginal  
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries
suitability: Unknown  
10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.1. Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)
suitability: Marginal  
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

0. Root -> 100.1. OLD 1.1.1-Policy-base actions->Management plans->Development
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Anonymous. 2004. Report on the implementation of the UN FAO International Plan of Action for Sharks (IPOA–Sharks). AC20 Inf. 5. Twentieth meeting of the CITES Animals Committee, Johannesburg (South Africa), 29 March–2 April 2004.

Compagno, L.J.V. and Last, P.R. 1999. Myliobatidae. Eagle rays. In: K.E. Carpenter and V.H. Niem (eds) FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 3. Batoid Fishes, Chimaeras and Bony Fishes Part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). pp. 1511-1519. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

Hanfee, F. 1999. Management of shark fisheries in two Indian coastal states: Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In: R. Shotton (ed.) Case studies of the management of elasmobranch fisheries. FAO technical paper 378/1, FAO Rome.

IUCN. 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 04 May 2006.

IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group. Specialist Group website. Available at:

Last, P.R. and Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Second Edition. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

Citation: White, W.T. 2006. Aetobatus flagellum. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T60119A12306888. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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