Tetronarce fairchildi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Torpedinidae

Scientific Name: Tetronarce fairchildi
Species Authority: (Hutton, 1872)
Common Name(s):
English Fairchild's Electric Ray, Crampfish, Electric Ray, Electric Skate, New Zealand Electric Ray, New Zealand Torpedo Ray, Numbfish, Torpedo Ray
Torpedo fairchildi Hutton, 1872
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2015. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 3 August 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 3 August 2015).
Taxonomic Notes: Synonym = Narcobatus fairchildi

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Duffy, C. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003)
Reviewer(s): Cavanagh, R.D. & Kyne, P.M. (Shark Red List Authority)
Torpedo fairchildi is an apparently common endemic species with a wide geographic and bathymetric distribution around New Zealand. Further taxonomic research is required to determine if this species occurs elsewhere. Little is known of its biology. It is not targeted commercially but is taken regularly as bycatch in commercial bottom trawl fisheries and occasionally on bottom-set longlines throughout its range. Survival rates of discarded individuals are unknown. Spatial refuges from fishing are unknown but may exist. Its large size (to 200 cm total length (TL)) and apparently low fecundity indicate that it is potentially vulnerable to overfishing and bycatch rates should be monitored closely.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:T. fairchildi is a common inhabitant of the continental shelf and upper slope around New Zealand's North, South and Stewart Islands and Chatham Rise. There are also isolated records from Challenger Plateau. It occurs from 5 to 1,135 m depth, but is most frequently recorded in research trawls between 100 to 300 m (Cox and Francis 1997, Paul and Heath 1997, Anderson et al. 1998).
Countries occurrence:
New Zealand (Chatham Is., North Is., South Is.)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – southwest
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are no population or biomass estimates available for New Zealand electric rays.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:T. fairchildi inhabits usually sandy or muddy bottoms on the outer continental shelf but is occasionally encountered inshore, including on shallow rocky reefs (pers. obs.). To 200 cm total length (TL), commonly to 100 to 150 cm TL (Paul and Heath 1997). Diet includes demersal fishes, such as red cod (Pseudophycis bacchus), crustaceans (crabs, shrimps, mantis shrimps) and shellfish. Reproduction is ovoviviparous. There are only two reports of pregnant females, both reported litter size as eight (four embryos in each uterus) (Hamilton 1883, Graham 1956). Nursery areas are not known. Size at birth and maturity is unknown. The smallest pregnant female reported was 91 cm TL.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): T. fairchildi is commonly taken as bycatch in commercial bottom-trawls and occasionally on bottom-set longlines. It has no commercial value and is usually discarded. Survival of discards is unknown but could be high in line fisheries. T. fairchildi is infrequently taken by recreational line fishers and is usually cut, or struck off the line (Paul and Heath 1997). T. fairchildi is not exhibited in public aquaria or collected for the aquarium trade. Old reports suggest that it was formerly common on inshore trawl grounds, whereas these days it appears to be most abundant below 100 m, suggesting possible declines in shallow waters.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are currently no conservation measures in place for this species.

Classifications [top]

10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.1. Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.1. Marine Neritic - Pelagic

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) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Anderson, O.F., Bagley, N.W., Hurst, R.J., Francis, M.P., Clark, M.R. and McMillan, P.J. 1998. Atlas of New Zealand fish and squid distributions from research bottom trawls. NIWA Technical Report 42. NIWA, Wellington. 303 pp.

Cox, G. and Francis, M. 1997. Sharks and rays of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.

Graham, D.H. 1956. A treasury of New Zealand fishes. Second edition. A.H. and A.W. Reed, Wellington

Hamilton, A. 1883. Entry for April 21, 1883 in the unpublished diary of Augustus Hamilton held in the National Library of New Zealand, Wellington.

IUCN. 2003. 2003 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 18 November 2003.

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.

Michael, S.W. 1993. Reef sharks and rays of the world. A guide to their identification, behavior and ecology. Sea Challengers, Monterey, California.

Paul, L. and Heath, E. 1997. Marine fishes of New Zealand 2: Deeper coastal and ocean waters. Mobil New Zealand Nature Series. Reed Books, Auckland.

Citation: Duffy, C. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003). 2003. Tetronarce fairchildi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2003: e.T41865A10564223. . Downloaded on 23 August 2017.
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