Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found on the upper continental and insular slopes. Feeds on deepwater shrimps. There is partial segregation by depth. Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449).
  • Compagno, L.J.V. 1984 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/2):251-655. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 244)
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Distribution

Range Description

Geographic range is disjunct in the western central Atlantic with a northern population occurring along the southeast and northern Gulf of Mexico coast of the USA (South Carolina to the Mississippi Delta); and, northern Cuba to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. A southern population occurs along the Caribbean coasts of Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica together with some neighbouring islands (Konstantinou et al. 2000). Its distribution may not be completely documented.

FAO Area: 31.
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Western Central Atlantic: South Carolina to Florida (USA), northern Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean coast from Belize to Nicaragua.
  • Compagno, L.J.V. 1984 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/2):251-655. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 244)
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Western Atlantic.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 360 mm TL
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Max. size

36.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 244)); 43 cm TL (female)
  • Compagno, L.J.V. 1984 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/2):251-655. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 244)
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Diagnostic Description

Presence of caudal crest of large denticles. Ground tint pale yellowish brown, strikingly marked along sides and back with row of dark brown blotches and spots (Ref. 6032).
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder 1948 Sharks. p. 59-546. In J. Tee-Van, C.M. Breder, S.F. Hildebrand, A.E. Parr and W.C. Schroeder (eds.) Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Part one. Lancelets, cyclostomes, sharks. Sears Foundation for Marine Research, Yale University, New Haven. 576 p. (Ref. 6032)
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The northern population of the species is recorded from the continental shelf and upper continental and insular slopes at depths of 36-732m; the southern population occurs in deep waters of the upper continental and insular slopes at depths of 338–613 m (Konstantinou et al. 2000).

Little is known about its biology.

Although the reproductive mode of this species has been in question, Konstantinou et al. (2000) reported this species as oviparous, but Compagno et al. (2005) suggest that this species is possibly ovoviviparous.

Reaches a maximum size of ~33 cm TL (largest verifiable size in the literature; Konstantinou et al. 2000).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

bathydemersal; marine; depth range 250 - 750 m (Ref. 55584)
  • Kiraly, S.J., J.A. Moore and P.H. Jasinski 2003 Deepwater and other sharks of the U.S. Atlantic Ocean Exclusive Economic Zone. Mar. Fish. Rev. 65(4):1-64. (Ref. 55584)
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Depth range based on 150 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 92 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 46 - 732
  Temperature range (°C): 6.617 - 17.461
  Nitrate (umol/L): 7.784 - 30.494
  Salinity (PPS): 34.885 - 36.384
  Oxygen (ml/l): 2.734 - 4.178
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.619 - 1.997
  Silicate (umol/l): 3.216 - 20.947

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 46 - 732

Temperature range (°C): 6.617 - 17.461

Nitrate (umol/L): 7.784 - 30.494

Salinity (PPS): 34.885 - 36.384

Oxygen (ml/l): 2.734 - 4.178

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.619 - 1.997

Silicate (umol/l): 3.216 - 20.947
 
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Depth: 292 - 732m.
From 292 to 732 meters.

Habitat: bathydemersal.
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Ovoviviparous, embryos feed solely on yolk (Ref. 50449).
  • Breder, C.M. and D.E. Rosen 1966 Modes of reproduction in fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey. 941 p. (Ref. 205)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Galeus arae

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Heupel, M.R.

Reviewer/s
Kyne, P.M., Stevens, J.D., Dudley, S.D., Pollard, D.P. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Galeus arae is a member of the Western Atlantic Galeus arae species complex. Information for this species is currently limited and its distribution may not be completely documented due in part to confusion with its congeners. Known from separate northern (southeast USA, northern Gulf of Mexico, and Cuba to Yucatan) and southern (Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica) populations. Recorded from depths of 36–732 m in the north and 338–631 m in the south and reaches a maximum size of ~33 cm total length, but virtually nothing is known of its biology. No information is available on the capture of this species; however it may be taken as bycatch in trawl fisheries operating in the northern portion of its range, where it occurs at shallower depths. Given that the majority of the species’ bathymetric distribution is thought to extend beyond the depths of fisheries operations throughout most of its range, the species is assessed as Least Concern. Monitoring of fisheries as they expand into deeper waters will be required.
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Population

Population
The distribution as presently recognised (Konstantinou et al. 2000) is disjunct and may represent separate subpopulations.

These sharks are irregularly distributed along the slope they inhabit and are encountered in large aggregations or are otherwise absent (Compagno 1984).

There may be partial segregation by adults and juveniles based on depth. Few juveniles are collected below 450m, but mixed adults and juveniles can be found in waters less than 450m deep (Compagno 1984).

Springer (1979) suggests that nursery areas may exist on very rough bottom which is un-trawlable.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Uncertain. Any future expansion of deepwater demersal fisheries would require monitoring, particularly as the species is irregularly distributed and intensive fishing may have localized impacts on the species. However, its small size would preclude it from capture in most fishing gear except trawls.

The northern population of this species is most likely taken by trawl fisheries, although no specific data are available on its capture. In the northern Gulf of Mexico, the majority of shrimp trawling effort is found near shore at depths less than 20 m (Shepherd and Myers 2005), so there is probably some spatial refuge for this species in the deeper portion of its bathymetric range.

Shrimp trawl fisheries also operate along the Caribbean coasts of Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. However, current information suggests that these fisheries are primarily restricted to the shelf at present (<70m), outside the bathymetric range of this species in this area (FAO a,b,c).
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Least Concern (LC)
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: of no interest
  • Coppola, S.R., W. Fischer, L. Garibaldi, N. Scialabba and K.E. Carpenter 1994 SPECIESDAB: Global species database for fishery purposes. User's manual. FAO Computerized Information Series (Fisheries). No. 9. Rome, FAO. 103 p. (Ref. 171)
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Wikipedia

Roughtail catshark

The roughtail catshark or marbled catshark (Galeus arae) is a common species of catshark, part of the family Scyliorhinidae. It is found at a depth of 36–702 m (118–2,303 ft) in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea, from North Carolina to Costa Rica. Individuals of different sexes and ages are segregated to some degree. A small species not exceeding 33 cm (13 in) in length, the roughtail catshark has a slender body with a marbled color pattern of dark saddles and spots, and a prominent crest of enlarged dermal denticles along the dorsal edge of its caudal fin. This species feeds mainly on shrimp and is oviparous. It is caught incidentally in shrimp trawls, though trawl fisheries within its range mostly do not operate at the depths it inhabits. As a result, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed it under Least Concern.

Taxonomy[edit]

John T. Nichols of the American Museum of Natural History originally described the roughtail catshark as Pristiurus arae in a 1927 issue of American Museum Novitates. He named the species after the trawler Ara, which collected the first two specimens, both 16 cm (6.3 in) long immature females, off Miami Beach on March 31, 1926.[2] Later authors have recognized Pristiurus as a junior synonym of Galeus.[3] The Antilles catshark (G. antillensis) and the longfin sawtail catshark (G. cadenati) were regarded as subspecies of G. arae, until taxonomic revisions were published by Hera Konstantinou and colleagues in 1998 and 2000.[4][5] The three species, along with the southern and Springer's sawtail catsharks (G. mincaronei and G. springeri), are grouped together in the G. arae species complex.[6]

Description[edit]

The roughtail catshark has a slender body with dark saddle markings.
Close-up of the denticles on the roughtail catshark's caudal fin dorsal crest.

Probably the smallest member of the G. arae species complex, the roughtail catshark grows no longer than 33 cm (13 in).[5][7] It has a slender, firm body and a slightly flattened head. The snout is rather long and pointed, with the nostrils divided by triangular skin flaps in front. The horizontally oval eyes are equipped with rudimentary nictitating membranes (protective third eyelids), and lack prominent ridges underneath. There is a tiny spiracle behind each eye. The mouth is large and forms a broad arch, with moderately long furrows around the corners. The teeth are small and number 59–65 rows in the upper jaw and 58–60 rows in the lower jaw. Each tooth has a thin central cusp flanked by 1–3 pairs of cusplets on either side. There are five pairs of gill slits.[3][8]

The first dorsal fin has a blunt apex and is positioned over the latter half of the pelvic fin bases. The second dorsal fin is nearly as large as the first and similar in shape, and positioned over the latter half of the anal fin base. The large, broad pectoral fins have rounded corners. The pelvic and anal fins are low and angular.[8] The anal fin base measures roughly 10–14% of the total length, exceeding the distance between the pelvic and anal fins and about the same as the distance between the dorsal fins. The caudal fin is low, with a small lower lobe and a ventral notch near the tip of the upper lobe. The dermal denticles are small and overlapping; each has a leaf-shaped crown with a horizontal ridge and three marginal teeth.[5] There is a prominent saw-toothed crest, formed from enlarged denticles, along the anterior portion of the dorsal caudal fin margin. This species is yellowish brown above with a marbled color pattern consisting of usually fewer than 11 dark saddles along the back and tail. Some smaller sharks have markings that form horizontal lines, while some larger sharks have round blotches along the sides. These markings can range from faint to well-defined by white outlines. The underside is pale, and the inside of the mouth is black.[5][8][9]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

A roughtail catshark near the base of a Lophelia reef off Cape Canaveral, Florida.

While the full extent of its range may remain to be documented, the roughtail catshark seems to have a disjunct distribution that does not overlap with that of either G. antillensis or G. cadenati. The northern population occurs from North Carolina southward to Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula, and westward to the Mississippi River Delta. The southern population is found in the Caribbean Sea off the coasts of Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.[5]

The roughtail catshark is a demersal species typically inhabiting continental and insular slopes, occasionally venturing onto the shelf. It is abundant but unevenly distributed, with some areas harboring hundreds of sharks and other areas none at all.[8] Sharks of the northern population have been recorded from depths of 36–732 m (118–2,402 ft), and those of the southern population from 338–631 m (1,109–2,070 ft).[1] The shallowest records have tended to come from higher latitudes, suggesting that temperature plays more of a role than depth in determining the species' distribution; it has been captured from water ranging from 5.6 to 11.1 °C (42.1 to 52.0 °F).[5] Both adults and juveniles occur up to a depth of 450 m (1,480 ft), while usually only adults are found deeper.[8] There also appears to be spatial segregation by sex, though the patterns are not well-defined.[10]

Biology and ecology[edit]

The roughtail catshark preys mostly on shrimp, and may gather in sizable schools.[7] Once erroneously reported to be aplacental viviparous, more recent research has confirmed that this species is actually oviparous. Adult females have a single functional ovary, on the right, and two functional oviducts. A single egg matures within each oviduct at a time. The eggs are enclosed within tough, flask-shaped capsules around 4.9–5.1 cm (1.9–2.0 in) long, 1.2–1.4 cm (0.47–0.55 in) across the top, and 1.6 cm (0.63 in) across the bottom. The rounded upper corners of the capsule bear coiled tendrils.[5] The spawning grounds of this shark may be located in very rough terrain.[1] Both sexes mature sexually at approximately 27–33 cm (11–13 in) long.[7]

Human interactions[edit]

Harmless and of no commercial value, the roughtail catshark is too small to be caught on most types of fishing gear but is taken incidentally in shrimp trawls.[1][11] Shark expert Stewart Springer reported in 1966 that it was frequently caught in shrimp trawls along the entire coast of Florida.[10] The impact of trawl fisheries on this species in United States waters is unknown; its depth and spawning habitat preferences may offer a degree of protection from fishing pressure. Similarly, shrimp trawling activity off Central America does not extend into the depths occupied by this species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has therefore assessed the roughtail catshark as of Least Concern.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Heupel, M.R. (2004). "Galeus arae". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ Nichols, J.T. (March 12, 1927). "A new shark from the continental slope off Florida". American Museum Novitates (256): 1–2. 
  3. ^ a b Compagno, L.J.V. (1988). Sharks of the Order Carcharhiniformes. Blackburn Press. pp. 134–142, 433. ISBN 1-930665-76-8. 
  4. ^ Konstantinou, H. and J.R. Cozzi (1998). "Galeus springeri, a new species of sawtail catshark from the Caribbean Sea (Chondrichthys, Scyliorhinidae)". Copeia 1998 (1): 151–158. doi:10.2307/1447711. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Konstantinou, H., J.D. McEachran, and J.B. Woolley (2000). "The systematics and reproductive biology of the Galeus arae subspecific complex (Chondrichthyes, Scyliorhinidae)". Environmental Biology of Fishes 57: 117–129. 
  6. ^ Soto, J.M.R. (2001). "Galeus mincaronei sp. nov. (Carcharhiniformes, Scyliorhinidae), a new species of sawtail catshark from southern Brazil". Mare Magnum 1 (1): 11–18. 
  7. ^ a b c Compagno, L.J.V., M. Dando and S. Fowler (2005). Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press. pp. 223–224. ISBN 978-0-691-12072-0. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Compagno, L.J.V. (1984). Sharks of the World: An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Shark Species Known to Date. Food and Agricultural Organization. pp. 308–309. ISBN 92-5-101384-5. 
  9. ^ McEachran, J.D. and J.D. Fechhelm (1998). Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico: Myxinformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press. p. 65. ISBN 0-292-75206-7. 
  10. ^ a b Springer, S. (1966). "A review of western Atlantic cat sharks, Scyliorhinidae, with descriptions of a new genus and five new species". United States Fish and Wildlife Service Fishery Bulletin 65 (3): 581–624. 
  11. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2010). "Galeus arae" in FishBase. October 2010 version.
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