Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found from close inshore and shallow bays to the slope (Ref. 5578). Feeds on small fish and a wide variety of invertebrates (Ref. 27121). Sold commercially as 'silver trumpeter' (Ref. 3180) and considered a delicacy in southern Africa (Ref. 27121). Oviparous (Ref. 50449). Produces egg-cases that are spindle shaped, with broad horizontal flanges (Ref. 36731). Minimum depth reported from Ref. 7403.
  • Krefft, G. 1990 Callorynchidae. p. 117. In J.C. Quero, J.C. Hureau, C. Karrer, A. Post and L. Saldanha (eds.) Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). JNICT, Lisbon; SEI, Paris; and UNESCO, Parisl. Vol. 1. (Ref. 7403)
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Distribution

Range Description

C. capensis is abundant off the west and south coasts of South Africa (Compagno et al. 1991) but rare off KwaZulu-Natal. Range may extend north of Namibia, but there are no confirmed records from Angola or more northerly regions.
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Southeast Atlantic: Namibia to the Cape and Natal in South Africa (Ref. 5578, 58304).
  • Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale 1989 Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p. (Ref. 5578)
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Southeastern Atlantic and southwestern Indian Ocean off southern Africa.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 1
  • Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale 1989 Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p. (Ref. 5578)
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Size

Maximum size: 1220 mm TL
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Max. size

122 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 3180)); max. published weight: 5,250 g (Ref. 40637)
  • IGFA 2001 Database of IGFA angling records until 2001. IGFA, Fort Lauderdale, USA.
  • Compagno, L.J.V. 1986 Callorhinchidae. p. 147. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 3180)
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Diagnostic Description

An elephant fish with a hoe-like snout and arched caudal fin (Ref. 5578). Silvery or bronzy with brown markings on flanks and head; fin webs brown (Ref. 5578).
  • Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale 1989 Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p. (Ref. 5578)
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Demersal and found close inshore to a depth of 374 m, although rarely caught in depths greater than 150 m and only females have been collected below 250 m.

C. capensis appears to have a relatively high fecundity and early onset of sexual maturity compared to other chondrichthyan fishes. Sexual maturity is calculated at about 4.2 years for females and 3.3 years for males (Freer and Griffiths 1993a, 1993b). C. capensis is oviparous producing one egg per oviduct. Their eggcases are large, spindle-shaped with broad lateral flanges. Embryos probably take 9 to 12 months to hatch. Breeding occurs throughout the year with distinct peaks in summer. During the breeding season, females move closer to shore to lay eggs and juveniles remain inshore for a period of 3 to 4 years. The majority of C. capensis caught by fishermen are in depths less than 100 m. Maximum size is 120 cm TL.

Most life history data are from Freer and Griffiths (1993a, 1993b).

Life history parameters
Age at maturity: 4.2 years (female); 3.3 years (male).
Size at maturity (fork length): 50% maturity: 49.6 cm FL (female); 50% maturity: 43.5 cm FL (male).
Longevity: 10+ years (females); 7+ years (males) (from graphs in Freer and Griffiths 1993b).
Maximum size (total length): 120 cm TL.
Size at birth: ~13 cm TL.
Average reproductive age (years): Unknown.
Gestation time: Incubation time of 9 to 12 months.
Reproductive periodicity: Active throughout the year but with a distinctive peak in summer.
Average annual fecundity or litter size: Unknown.
Annual rate of population increase: Unknown.
Natural mortality: Unknown.

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

demersal; marine; depth range 10 - 374 m (Ref. 5578), usually 10 - 200 m (Ref. 3180)
  • Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale 1989 Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p. (Ref. 5578)
  • Compagno, L.J.V. 1986 Callorhinchidae. p. 147. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 3180)
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Depth range based on 2673 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1435 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 8 - 570
  Temperature range (°C): 6.055 - 20.525
  Nitrate (umol/L): 2.529 - 29.077
  Salinity (PPS): 34.414 - 35.415
  Oxygen (ml/l): 1.227 - 5.185
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.401 - 2.210
  Silicate (umol/l): 3.637 - 21.943

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 8 - 570

Temperature range (°C): 6.055 - 20.525

Nitrate (umol/L): 2.529 - 29.077

Salinity (PPS): 34.414 - 35.415

Oxygen (ml/l): 1.227 - 5.185

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.401 - 2.210

Silicate (umol/l): 3.637 - 21.943
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 10 - 374m.
From 10 to 374 meters.

Habitat: demersal. Attains 122 cm. This most unusually shaped fish has a steep forehead with a snout elongated into a flattened, hoe-like projection. It has a long pointed tail which is almost half its body length. Body colour is silver, sometimes with a mother-of-pearl sheen along the back. Mature males have a stalked knob on the forehead and distinct, elongate claspers positioned just in front of the pelvic fins. Egg-cases are spindle shaped with broad horizontal flanges. Fairly common bottom-dwelling species found in shallow waters down to a depth of 200 metres. The diet of this sluggish fish includes brittlestars, crabs, shrimps, and molluscs as well as several species of slow swimming fish. Breeding takes place in summer and females undergo internal fertilization before deposting two of the brown egg cases on the sea-bed. The elephantfish is often caught in trawl or beach seine nets and occasionally also hooked by sport fisherman. It is of moderate commercial and angling importance, being increasingly marketed as a substitute for kinglip fillets. Flesh is xcellent but this fish is normally rejected because of its bizarre appearance. Locally this fish is sold as the 'Silver trumpeter'. A closely related species is considered a great delicacy in Australia and New Zealand. Confined to southern Africa from Namibia to Natal.
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Trophic Strategy

Found from close inshore and shallow bays to the slope (Ref. 5578). Feeds on small fish, benthic invertebrates and crustaceans (Ref. 5578, 27121).
  • Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale 1989 Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p. (Ref. 5578)
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Oviparous (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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Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 12 years
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Callorhinchus capensis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Callorhinchus capensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
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
2006

Assessor/s
Pheeha, S. & Dagit, D.D.

Reviewer/s
Human, B.A., Kyne, P.M., Fowler, S.L. & Compagno, L.J.V.

Contributor/s

Justification
A Southern African endemic known from South Africa and Namibia inshore to 374 m (but rarely caught deeper than 150 m). In South Africa, Callorhinchus capensis is an abundant species off the west and south coast, but uncommon along the east coast off KwaZulu-Natal. The St Joseph fishery in South Africa is based primarily on the west coast in the St Helena Bay area, where approximately 650 tons are caught annually using bottom set gillnets. Fishing effort is regulated by the number of nets a permit holder can have. The species is also taken as byproduct in demersal trawl fisheries. Overall, the annual catch (directed gillnet fishery and demersal trawl byproduct) appears to have stabilised at 700 to 900 tons. In Namibia, the species is not commercially targeted but is taken as bycatch of demersal trawl fishing, although not in large numbers. For the most part, this species is common within its range and it is assessed as Least Concern because there are no major threats apparent to its population at the present time.
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Population

Population
Population size and structure is poorly understood.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
Caught primarily via a directed gillnet fishery off the south and west coasts of South Africa. Also commonly caught by bottom trawlers, and line-fishing boats, as well as sports anglers. The species occurs in shallow waters and very close inshore where fishing activities are often very intensive.

The St Joseph fishery in South Africa is based primarily on the west coast in the St Helena Bay area, where approximately 650 tons are caught annually using bottom set gillnets. Fishing effort is regulated by the number of nets a permit holder can have. Overall, the annual catch (directed gillnet fishery and demersal trawl byproduct) appears to have stabilised at 700-900 tons.

In Namibia, the species is not commercially targeted but is taken as bycatch of demersal trawl fishing, although not in large numbers. It is also irregularly taken by shore anglers (H. Holtzhausen, pers. comm.).
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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
In South Africa, gillnets used in the St. Joseph fishery are permitted as "shark nets" and are comprised of 178 mm stretched mesh with a fall of 3 m and length not exceeding 150 m. No person may hold more than four net permits. Nets are set in daylight for a period of about 30 minutes and may not be set within 500 m of the high-water mark (Freer and Griffiths 1993a). Continued management and monitoring practices should remain in place for this species to prevent overfishing.

The recreational line fishery in South Africa is managed by a bag limit of one/species/person/day for unspecified chondrichthyans, which includes C. capensis.

There is no specific management in place for this species in Namibia (H. Holtzhausen, pers. comm).

The development and implementation of national management plans (e.g., under the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks: IPOA-Sharks) will help facilitate the conservation and management of all chondrichthyan species in the region. Namibia adopted its National Plan of Action (NPOA) in 2004. South Africa's NPOA is drafted and at the time of writing is still awaiting government approval: it is a matter of urgency to adopt and implement this NPOA.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; price category: low; price reliability: reliable: based on ex-vessel price for this species
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 1992 FAO yearbook 1990. Fishery statistics. Catches and landings. FAO Fish. Ser. (38). FAO Stat. Ser. 70:(105):647 p. (Ref. 4931)
  • Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale 1989 Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p. (Ref. 5578)
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Wikipedia

Cape elephantfish

The Cape elephantfish, josef, or St. Joseph shark (Callorhinchus capensis) is a species of fish in the Callorhinchidae family.[1]

Description[edit]

The Cape elephantfish is a smooth silvery or bronze fish which grows to 120 cm in total length, with a digging proboscis on the front of its snout. The first dorsal spine has a large venomous spine in front of it. There are darker markings on the flanks and head. At maturity, the males have a pair of calcified claspers, paired retractable prepelvic graspers, and a door-knocker-like projection (tentaculum) on their heads.

Distribution[edit]

It is found off the coasts of Namibia and South Africa inshore and down to 374 m.

Ecology[edit]

The Cape elephantfish eats sea urchins, bivalves, crustaceans, gastropods, worms, and bony fish. Its predators include seals and sharks.

It is oviparous, laying two egg cases at a time. The egg case is large (about 25 cm) and spindle-shaped, with a ragged frill all around it. Females mature at 50 cm, males at 44 cm. Mating and egg laying occurs inshore.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Branch, G.M., Branch, M.L, Griffiths, C.L. and Beckley, L.E. 2010. Two Oceans: a guide to the marine life of southern Africa ISBN 978-1-77007-772-0


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