Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Mollusca Gastropoda Neogastropoda Conidae

Scientific Name: Conus mercator
Species Authority: Linnaeus, 1758
Conus lamarckii Kiener, 1845
Conus orri da Motta, 1982
Conus reticulatus Born, 1778
Taxonomic Notes: Conus dealbatus was listed as a synonym of this species in error; this has been removed from the synonym on this record (M. J. Tenorio pers. comm. 2011).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2011-10-27
Assessor(s): Monnier, E.
Reviewer(s): Tenorio, M.J., Seddon, M. & Peters, H.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Seddon, M. & Peters, H.

The species is mainly found in a restricted area on the northern part of the peninsula, near the city of Dakar. This species occurs within the environs of the city with associated marine pollution from the port and the associated factories, as well as disturbance caused by shipping. The size of the specimens taken has been reducing over the last 15 years and the populations of the species is probably decreasing. Hence the species is assessed as Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Senegal where it is found only along the western edge of the Cap Vert Peninsula of the capital Dakar, from the districts of Yoff in the north to Dakar-Fann on the southern tip including Goreé Island, a total coastline of approx 22 km (Monteiro et al. 2004).  The whole of the adjacent land is highly developed and industrialized with associated problems including discharge of pollutants into the marine environment (UNEP 2009) which will probably result in fragmentation of the population. This species is described as most abundant from the districts of Almadies on the north-western tip to Ouakam approx 4 km to the south (Monteiro et al. 2004).
Countries occurrence:
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – eastern central
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 22
Number of Locations: 4
Lower depth limit (metres): 3
Upper depth limit (metres): 1
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is abundant within the range but there is some decline in the sizes of the individuals taken (E. Monnier pers. comm. 2011).
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: Unknown Population severely fragmented: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in shallow water typically at 3 m depth (Poppe and Poppe 2011). Adults of the species typically grow to 45 mm in length.
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

The species is collected locally by subsistance collectors for the shell trade. It is over-collected at present in the region around Dakar (E. Monnier pers. comm. 2011). It may be that the shells are gathered for the local tourist market and by tourists visiting the country.

The shells are very variable with lots of different colour patterns making them attractive.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The major threat to the species is marine pollution, which impacts the whole of this coastline, in particular around the Cap Vert Peninsular, from industrial and domestic discharges including sewage, chemicals and other toxins, presents a severe problem to marine creatures living in the area (UNEP 2009).

There is a minor threat from shell-collecting by locals.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Two populations are found on off-shore islands, which are more isolated from pollution events and collecting. One island is protected from diving and access to the island. However there are no known conservation measures currently in place for this species.

Citation: Monnier, E. 2012. Conus mercator. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T192497A2104168. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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