Gurgesiella dorsalifera 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Rajidae

Scientific Name: Gurgesiella dorsalifera McEachran & Compagno, 1980
Common Name(s):
English Onefin Skate

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Rincon, G.
Reviewer(s): Musick, J.A., Kyne, P.M., Cavanagh, R.D. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)
A small, poorly known endemic skate, known from localised areas off Santa Catarina State north to Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, at depths of 400-800 m. It may also occur in deeper water. Often captured in large numbers as bycatch by the bottom otter trawl fleet in the area, this deepwater species is likely to have a low intrinsic rate of increase, and poor resilience to depletion. Increased fishing effort for squid in its limited extent of occurrence (estimated at 18,000 to 20,000 km²) is likely to affect the population. However, the squid fishery operates down to about 600 m, thus deeper water may provide some refuge for the species, although it does not appear to be abundant at the deeper end of its known bathymetrical range. The species is assessed as Vulnerable due to its restricted range, life history (as a deepwater species) and increasing fishing pressure (inferring a continuing reduction in the number of mature individuals). Its depth range and abundance in deeper water needs clarification.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:A Brazilian endemic locally known off Santa Catarina State north to Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. At present most records are centered on the southern part of its range (Santa Catarina State), although this may be due to less fishing effort off Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo States were the continental slope is highly inclined.

Its extent of occurrence is estimated at 18,000 to 20,000 km².
Countries occurrence:
Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southwest
Additional data:
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:The holotype was taken at 800 m (McEachran and Compagno 1980). Maximum size at least 42.4 cm total length (TL). Matures at 40.0 to 42.4 cm TL (males) and 36.5 cm TL (females). Oviparous, laying 4.5 cm eggs in September-October (spring). This species is a deepwater piscivorous skate and feeds mainly on juveniles (2 to 3 cm TL) of abrótea Urophycis brasiliensis at 400 to 600 m depth, but copepods and mysidaceans also make up part of its diet. Although the present information about its feeding aspect is restricted to two samples, the results are evidence of a trophic dependency of G. dorsalifera upon U. brasiliensis, which may be a point of concern given the high economic importance and heavy fishing of this teleost in the south of Brazil. It may occur deeper than 800 m and this needs clarification. Indications are that it is not abundant at the deeper end of its known depth range (400 to 800 m).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): A bycatch in deepwater fisheries. Increasing bottom trawl effort for squid in the only known area of its distribution is a matter of concern. This fishery operates down to about 600 m, so deeper water may provide a refuge for this species. Its main prey item, the teleost Urophycis brasiliensis, is heavily fished.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None in effect or proposed. Bycatch mitigation is required. Closed areas may be required to protect this and other species in such areas of heavy, and increasing, fishing.

Classifications [top]

10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.1. Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)

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 -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2004).

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

McEachran, J.D. and Compagno, L.J.V. 1980. Results of the research cruises of FRV "Walter Herwig" to South America. LVI: A new species of skate from the Southwestern Atlantic, Gurgesiella dorsalifera sp. nov. (Chondrichthyes, Rajoidei). Archiv. Fisherei Wissenchaft 31: 1-14.

Menni, R.C. and Stehmann, M.F.W. 2000. Distribution, environment and biology of batoid fishes off Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, a review. Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales (Nueva Serie) 2(1): 69-109.

Séret, B. and Andreata, J.V. 1992. Deep-sea fishes collected during cruise MD-35 off Brazil. Cybium 16(1):81-100.

Citation: Rincon, G. 2004. Gurgesiella dorsalifera. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T44656A10932771. . Downloaded on 19 June 2018.
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