First record of the chimaera Neoharriota carri (Bullis and Carpenter 1966) in the Caribbean of Guatemala
© The Author(s) 2017
Received: 15 June 2016
Accepted: 6 December 2016
Published: 3 January 2017
A new record of Neoharriota carri is here reported for the Caribbean of Guatemala.
Two chimaeras, a male and female Neoharriota carri, were caught with a single panel trammel net off the coast of El Quetzalito, Guatemala in February 2015 and January 2016 respectively. Details concerning the identification and measurement of these species are presented.
These records represent the first records in Guatemalan waters and the northernmost records in the western Atlantic for the distribution of N. carri.
KeywordsRhincomeridae First record Range extension Caribbean
The family Rhincomeridae, belongs to the subclass Holocephali, order Chimaeriformes, commonly known as the longnose chimaera. Longnose chimaeras are small to medium chondrichthyans with a broad head and elongated spear-like snout. Currently, Rhincomeridae is represented by three genera: Harriota Goode and Bean 1895, Neoharriotta Bigelow and Schroeder 1950, and Rhinochimaera Garman 1901. Species of Neoharriota are distinguished from Harriota by the possession of a prominent anal fin. Neoharriota species are represented by: N. pinnata, Schnakenbeck 1931, which appear to be restricted to the eastern Atlantic, off the western coast of Africa, N. pumila, Didier and Stehmann 1996, presently known only from the northwestern Indian Ocean and N. carri with known occurrence in the upper and mid continental slopes in the Southern Caribbean (219–458 m depth range) (Bullis and Carpenter 1966).
Globally, Chimaeroids are captured incidentally in commercial, recreational and artisanal fisheries (Barnett et al. 2012). Despite captures, few data exist regarding their population status; the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists 16 out of 35 chimaera species as data deficient (IUCN 2011). During February 2015 and January 2016, while conducting landings verification of elasmobranchs in Quetzalito, a fishing village on Guatemala’s Caribbean coast, two specimens of the chimaera Neoharriota carri were collected, with the 2016 specimen was being preserved for further examination.
Measurements of preserved Neoharriota carri landed in El Quetzalito, Guatemala on January 2016
Female (n = 1)
Total length (TL- caudal filament broken off)
Precaudal length (PCL), snout tip to posterior end of anal fin base
Body length (BDL), gill opening to upper caudal origin
Prenarial length (PRN)
Preorbital length (POB)
Head length (HDL)
Head height (HDH)
Head width (HDW)
Prepectoral length (PP1)
Prepelvic length (PP2)
Trunk height (TRH)
Trunk weight (TRW)
Caudal peduncle height (CPH)
Caudal peduncle width (CPW)
Pectoral length (P1L)
Pectoral anterior margin (P1A)
Pectoral base (P1B)
Pre first dorsal length (PD1)
Pre second dorsal length (PD2)
Snout vent length, snout tip to front of anus (SVL)
Snout greatest width (SWF)
Snout basal width (SWB)
Snout basal height (SHB)
Mouth length (MOL)
Mouth width (MOW)
Upper labial furrow length (ULA)
Lower labial furrow length (LLA)
Upper labial furrow height (ULH)
Nostril width (NOW)
Internarial space (INW)
Outer internarial space (IOW)
Anterior nasal flap length (ANF)
Eye length (EYL)
Eye height (EYH)
Eye mouth space (EMO)
Interorbital space (INO)
Trunk length (TRL)
First dorsal insertion to second dorsal origin (IDS)
Dorsal caudal space (DCS)
First dorsal anterior margin (D1A)
Length dorsal spine (DSA)
Second dorsal fin length (D2L)
Second dorsal fin base (D2B)
Second dorsal fin height (D2H)
First dorsal height (D1H)
First dorsal base (D1B)
Second dorsal length (D2L)
Total caudal length (CTL)
Dorsal caudal margin (CDM)
Caudal filament length (CFI-broken off)
Maximum caudal height (CHI)
Ventral caudal margin (CVM)
Pelvic caudal space (PCA)
Caudal lower ray length (CLR)
Caudal upper ray length (CUR)
Gill opening (gill split) (GS1)
Prenarial length (PRN)
Preoral length (POR)
Pectoral pelvic space (PPS)
Intergill width (IG1)
Anal fin length (AL)
Anal fin base (AB)
Family: Rhinochimaeridae Garman, 1901
Genus: Neoharriotta Bigelow and Schroeder, 1950
Neoharriotta carri Bullis and Carpenter 1966
Common name: Dwarf sicklefin chimaera; Quimera pálida con hocico largo (Spanish), tiburón elefante (local name).
2016 specimen: Medium to large. Snout elongated and pointed. Caudal fin axis weakly raised, prominent anal fin present and is separated from ventral caudal lobe. Caudal filament broken off. Pectoral and pelvic fins are triangular in shape, darker in color than the body. First dorsal fin is preceded by a spine. Second dorsal fin base terminates immediately above and slightly anterior to anal fin origin.
For the 2015 specimens, photographs were taken by the fishermen for evidence (Fig. 2), but no specimen was kept for preservation or further identification. Based on the fisherman’s report and on images taken with known reference lengths, this specimen was male with a 730 mm TL, presumed mature due to clasper formation and size (Dagit 2006).
A year later, in January 2016, the same fisherman collected a new specimen: a female chimaera, 880 mm TL (Fig. 3). This specimen was identified as Neoharriota carri and according to size at sexual maturity (Dagit 2006), this organism was also presumed to be sexually mature.
N. carri was first described by Bullis and Carpenter (1966), who described a female holotype of 428 mm TL, collected in Panama. In Colombia, Acero (1998) reported the occurrence of two individuals, 1 female 640 mm TL and 1 male 820 mm TL. N. carri has also been reported in Venezuela (Dagit 2006). Benavides et al. (2014), recorded N. carri while using bottom trawling nets in Costa Rica. During these surveys in Costa Rica, the authors collected a large number of specimens, 31 males (285–545 mm TL) and 31 females (285–545 mm TL), all presumed sexually immature per Dagit (2006). According to Acero (1998), the maximum size reported for this species is 820 mm TL. The 2016 specimen described here is therefore the largest specimen on record (880 mm TL).
To date fishers report catching at least 10 additional N. carri specimens near the actual coordinates at which the specimens were found. There is no reported seasonal variance in the captures of this species. Captured N. carri are generally released at sea, but if landed, are neither corned and/or consumed as is customary with other chondrichthyan species.
The importance of the present records resides in the fact that they represent the first record of N. carri for Guatemala and a significant range extension and northernmost report in the Western Atlantic. No targeted fisheries exist for this species, and captures represent bycatch from traditional small-scale finfish and elasmobranch fisheries.
FUNMZ would like to thank the community of El Quetzalito for their constant support to the research program in the area. Also, we would like to thank Josué Ayala for reporting the collection of the specimen.
Fundación Mundo Azul and MarAlliance provided funding for the elasmobranch monitoring project during 2015.
Availability of data and materials
The specimen is available at the Laboratory of Biological Science and Oceanography, Centro de Estudios del Mar y Acuicultura (CEMA) of the Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC). The specimen is part of the collection registered to the Consejo Nacional de Áreas Protegidas (CONAP) under the reference number 162. Additionally, photographs and dataset supporting the conclusions of this article are included.
FP, AH participated in the identification of the species, supporting literatures and contributed to draft the manuscript. TM, AP, RTG participated in the identification of the species and contributed to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Consent for publication
Ethics approval and consent to participate
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