Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

A very common inshore to offshore shark of the continental shelf occurring at depths of a few meters to slightly over 100 m (Ref. 244). A specialist feeder that prefers cephalopods, also feeds on small bony fishes (Ref. 244). Viviparous (Ref. 50449). Utilized fresh and dried salted for human consumption, and processed into fishmeal (Ref. 244).
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Distribution

Range Description

Distributed throughout the East Atlantic around the Cape Verde Islands, and from Mauritania down to Angola (Compagno et al. 2005). Possibly occurs as far north as Morocco (Compagno et al. 2005) and as far south as Namibia (Bianchi et al. 1999, Carpenter 2008). One northwest Atlantic record from 1906 (Compagno et al. 2005). There are no further records from the tropical Atlantic, possible that the locality data from this specimen was erroneous (Compagno in prep.).
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Eastern Atlantic: Cape Verde and Mauritania to northern Namibia (Ref. 244, 5578); possibly extending north to Morocco. Record from the Northwest Atlantic, specifically in New England, has not been verified even after an extensive survey of the area has been conducted.
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Atlantic.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 0
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Size

Maximum size: 1400 mm TL
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Max. size

140 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5578))
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Diagnostic Description

Description

A very common inshore to offshore shark of the continental shelf occuring at depths of a few meters to slightly over 100 m. A specialist feeder that prefers cephalopods (squid and octopi), also small bony fishes, including soles and sardines. Viviparous (with a yolk-sac placenta), with 1 to 4 young per litter. Size at birth about 47 cm. Utilized fresh and dried salted for human consumption, and processed into fishmeal.
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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A slender weasel shark with a moderately long snout, large eyes, and a short, small mouth with small, serrated upper teeth and erect-cusped lower teeth (Ref. 5578). Light grey or bronze with longitudinal yellow stripes, fins plain; white below (Ref. 5578).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The Atlantic Weasel Shark is a demersal species inhabiting both inshore and offshore waters around the continental shelf in tropical to warm-temperate waters. The species occurs in shallow waters up to 100 m, and can be found quite close to land in the surf zone. Common within its area of occurrence, little is known about the biology of this species (Compagno in prep.).

This shark is viviparous, bearing 1?4 pups per litter (mostly two), each about 47 cm in length. Off Senegal most young are born between May to June. This species reaches a maximum size of 138 cm in length, with males maturing at about 80cm and females maturing between 75 and 90 cm (Compagno et al. 2005).

It is a specialist feeder, primarily feeding on cephalopods, including squid and octopi. Occasionally preys on small bony fishes such as soles and sardines to make up its diet (Compagno in prep.).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

demersal; marine; depth range ? - 100 m (Ref. 5578), usually 30 - 70 m (Ref. 10730)
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Depth range based on 15 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 5 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 15 - 160
  Temperature range (°C): 10.261 - 23.110
  Nitrate (umol/L): 2.682 - 22.339
  Salinity (PPS): 34.802 - 35.753
  Oxygen (ml/l): 1.891 - 4.206
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.509 - 1.519
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.404 - 15.246

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 15 - 160

Temperature range (°C): 10.261 - 23.110

Nitrate (umol/L): 2.682 - 22.339

Salinity (PPS): 34.802 - 35.753

Oxygen (ml/l): 1.891 - 4.206

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.509 - 1.519

Silicate (umol/l): 1.404 - 15.246
 
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Depth: 0 - 100m.
Recorded at 100 meters.

Habitat: demersal.
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Viviparous (with a yolk-sac placenta), with 1 to 4 young per litter. Size at birth about 47 cm (Ref. 244). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Paragaleus pectoralis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Bates, H.

Reviewer/s
Valenti, S.V. & Diop, M. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
The Atlantic Weasel Shark (Paragaleus pectoralis) is a poorly known shark occurring both inshore and offshore along continental shelves of the eastern Atlantic. Predominantly found in shallow waters around the Cape Verde Islands and from Mauritania down to Angola, it can be found from the surf zone to depths of about 100 m. Common within its area of occurrence, very little is known about the biology of this species. Atlantic Weasel Shark may exhibit slow growth rates and late maturity, and it attains a maximum size of 138 cm TL. The presumed life history characteristics of the species make it vulnerable to fishing pressure within its range, where the species is important to commercial fisheries. It is taken as utilised catch in both artisanal and small commercial fisheries in the eastern Atlantic and by offshore international fisheries, being caught by longlines, hook and line, gillnets and bottom trawls. At present, no specific information is available on catches of this species or population trends and it is not possible to assess Atlantic Weasel Shark beyond Data Deficient. Further information is required about the biology of this species and its interaction with fisheries.
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Population

Population
Common in the Eastern Atlantic.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Important for commercial fisheries, this species is a common catch of artisanal and small commercial fisheries in the Eastern Atlantic, but also taken by offshore international fisheries. It is caught with a variety of fishing gear and retained for utilisation, including longlines, hook and line, gillnets and bottom trawls(Compagno in prep.). Inshore fishing pressure is generally intensive along the western coast of Africa, and fisheries have increased in both effort and capacity during recent decades (Walker et al. 2005). No specific data are currently available on catches of this species, however, and further investigation of the impact of fisheries on Paragaleus pectoralis is required.

The species may have life-history characteristics, such as slow growth that make it vulnerable to depletion.
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Data deficient (DD)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
No conservation measures are in place. Catch levels need to be quantified and monitored.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial
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Wikipedia

Atlantic weasel shark

The Atlantic weasel shark, Paragaleus pectoralis, is a weasel shark of the family Hemigaleidae, found in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean from the surface to 100 m. Its length is up to 1.4 m.

References[edit]

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