Hemipristis elongata 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Hemigaleidae

Scientific Name: Hemipristis elongata
Species Authority: (Klunzinger, 1871)
Common Name(s):
English Fossil Shark, Snaggletooth Shark
Dirrhizodon elongatus Klunzinger, 1871
Hemipristis elongatus (Klunzinger, 1871)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2bd+3bd+4bd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): White, W.T. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003)
Reviewer(s): Fowler, S. & Cavanagh, R.D. (Shark Red List Authority)
Hemipristis elongatus is commonly landed in coastal fisheries throughout its shallow (to 130 m) tropical Indo-West Pacific range (to a lesser extent in Australia) since the flesh is considered of very high quality, as are the fins and liver. The intensive and largely unmanaged net and trawl fisheries that occur throughout its range (with the exception of Australia) fish heavily in its known habitat and are likely to catch this species if present. Many shark fisheries and stocks in the region are known to be over-exploited, with catches declining, and market surveys indicate that this species has declined in areas where it was once considered common. This trend is likely to continue in future in the absence of management and because of continued, if not increasing fishing effort.

Australia is the exception to this pattern; the species is only a minor component of northern Australian trawl fisheries and is of little commercial value so is considered Least Concern here.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Hemipristis elongatus is found in the Indo-West Pacific: South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Aden, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Viet Nam, China, Indonesia (Java), the Philippines and Australia (Bunbury in Western Australia to Lizard Island in Queensland) (Last and Stevens 1994, Compagno 1998, W. White unpubl. data).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia); Bahrain; China; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; India; Indonesia (Jawa); Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kuwait; Madagascar; Mozambique; Oman; Pakistan; Philippines; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Somalia; South Africa; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; United Arab Emirates; Viet Nam; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Hemipristis elongatus is a rare to common tropical coastal species at depths down to 130 m (Compagno 1998).

This species attains 240 cm total length (TL), with females and males maturing at approximately 120 and 110 cm TL, respectively. They are viviparous and have a seasonal reproductive cycle with 2 to 11 (mean = 6) young per litter and born at 45 to 52 cm TL (Compagno 1984, Last and Stevens 1994). Mating appears to take place around June, ovulation in September and birth in about April, with a gestation period of about 7 to 8 months. The pregnancy rate among mature females off Australia is about 30%, which suggests that individual females may breed on every other year (Stevens and McLoughlin 1991).

Australian populations were found to feed on cephalopods and teleost fish (Stevens and McLoughlin 1991), whereas in India they are reported to feed on a variety of prey including many teleost species, grey sharks and butterfly rays, as well as prawns (Compagno 1984, Setna and Sarangdhar 1949).

A length-weight curve and fork length-total length conversion (sexes combined) for this species were provided by Stevens and McLoughlin (1991):

Weight (gm) = 1.62 x 10-3 TL 3.21
Fork length (cm) = 0.79TL + 1.43

There is no information on the age at maturity and growth of this species.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Hemipristis elongatus forms a minor component of the northern Australian gillnet and trawl (prawn and fish) fisheries (Last and Stevens 1994, Stobutzki et al. 2002, R. McAuley pers. comm.) and is also landed in the gillnet and trawl fisheries in Indonesia (W. White unpubl. data) and presumably in other countries within its range.

The gill net and trawl fisheries in Indonesia (especially the Java Sea) are very extensive and as a result, many shark species are highly exploited. Catches of sharks in south-east Asia are very high but are declining and fishers are travelling much further from the ports in order to increase catches (Chen 1996). Trawl and gill net fisheries are also moving further away, e.g., in Jakarta the gill net fishery at Muara Baru travels to waters around Kalimantan due to the decline in local shark populations (W. White unpubl. data). In the Gulf of Thailand this species was once considered common, however, surveys in recent years have observed very few specimens (L.J.V. Compagno pers. comm.). The numbers observed in the market surveys in this region, e.g., Indonesia, are likely to provide a relatively good representation of the population of this species.

In India, the fins and oil are utilized and the flesh is considered of extremely high quality (Last and Stevens 1994).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Recent species composition and catch data for fisheries within its range are required to assess the population trends, especially in areas where there is a very high level of fishing pressure.

Citation: White, W.T. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003). 2003. Hemipristis elongata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2003: e.T41874A10582240. . Downloaded on 27 June 2016.
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