IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Elephantfish or cockfish (Callorhinchus callorynchus)

The elephantfish occurs in rocky, sandy and muddy substrates on coasts and continental shelves from Southern Brazil to Southern Patagonia in the southwest Atlantic and from Peru and Chile in the southeast Pacific. It has also been reported from the Argentine section of the Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego and off the coast of Uruguay (1). The depth range is generally from nearshore to about 170 m, but there are reported captures from 600 m. This may indicate that the fish occupies and/or migrates to deeper waters than currently reported or may occupy different depth ranges in different parts of its range.

it has very large pectoral fins, one dorsal spine. A female grows to 102cm (2) and a male to 85 cm.

There may be seasonal migrations to shallower waters in the spring and autumn for spawning with a return to deeper waters during the winter.

The diet consists mainly of shelled invertebrates, particularly bivalve molluscs, gastropods and polychaetes. Differences in the diet of males and females and between juveniles and adults are attributed to prey availability and morphology and behaviour of predators (e.g., tooth plates of juveniles are not as large or strong as those of adults).

Mating and spawning occurs in spring and early summer with a primary spawning season from July- November. Spawning migrations into shallow waters lead to eggs at depths of 20 to 40 m, but also as deep as 104 m (2). It probably has an early onset of sexual maturity and relatively high fecundity. Females mature at 49 cm SL and males at 40 (2).

The Red List Category is "Least Concern". The fish is widespread and is captured year-round as part of commercial bottom trawl fisheries and is also captured on lines and as part of a small recreational fishery exists. It seems to be relatively abundant throughout its range. Landings from Argentina seem to fluctuate. They increased from 1992 to a peak in 1999, followed by an abrupt fall in the 2000-2002 and a rise from 2002-2004 (3). Declining landings in Chile from 1992-2004 may be due to shifting fishing effort between Hake and C. callorhynchus. Callorhinchus species are relatively productive and C. callorhynchus is not considered to be at immediate threat. As this species is fished throughout its range, the situation should be monitored closely, as overfishing may potentially threaten this species. Studies of C. callorhynchus off the coast of Argentina indicate there may be separate populations, which seem to be related to food abundance and availability. There may be aggregations by sex and size.


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