Breviraja claramaculata McEachran and Matheson, 1985

Jones, Christian M., Driggers Iii, William B., Hannan, Kristin M., Hoffmayer, Eric R., Jones, Lisa M. & Raredon, Sandra J., 2020, An annotated checklist of the chondrichthyan fishes inhabiting the northern Gulf of Mexico Part 1: Batoidea, Zootaxa 4803 (2), pp. 281-315: 308-309

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Breviraja claramaculata McEachran and Matheson, 1985


Breviraja claramaculata McEachran and Matheson, 1985   —brightspot skate

Synonyms: None

Distribution. The range of this species is generally accepted to be limited to the east coast of the US from SC to the Florida Keys, although several specimens have reportedly been collected off NC as well. They are reported to occur at depths ranging from approximately 300 to 900 m. In the northern GOM, this species was sighted off the west Florida shelf in approximately 483 m of water during a deepwater ROV survey conducted by the NOAA OOER. In addition, a specimen ( MCZ 39897 View Materials , Figure 17 View FIGURE 17 ) was reportedly collected from the northern GOM off the Florida panhandle at a depth of 30 m. However, the reported collection location of MCZ 39897 View Materials is questionable (see Remarks below).

First Record in GOM. To our knowledge this is the first record of the species from the northern GOM. Specimen MCZ 39897 View Materials , collected aboard the RV Silver Bay in 1957, is the sole representative of this species originating from the region in a research collection, although the exact collection location of MCZ 39897 View Materials is in question (see Remarks below).

Remarks. The sole specimen representing this species from the region ( MCZ 39897 View Materials ) was originally identified as B. spinosa   . McEachran and Matheson (1985) determined that nominal B. spinosa   were actually a suite of four separate species, B. claramaculata   being one. However, despite this specimen being present in the MCZ collection at the time, the authors appear to have either not examined it or excluded it from their analysis due to suspicious locality data. It is improbable that this specimen was collected at the location provided when it was deposited in the MCZ collection. William Schroeder noted his concerns about the collection locality data in the MCZ ledger (A. Williston, personal communication) and Bigelow and Schroeder (1962) do not include this specimen in their updated description of the species and its range. There are several lines of evidence that lead us to question the locality data associated with this specimen. First, the depth at the proposed capture location is shallower, by an order of magnitude, than any other specimen of this species collected elsewhere. Second, the only batoid species listed as being collected at the proposed location by Bullis and Thompson (1965) is Narcine brasiliensis   (now N. bancroftii   ), representatives of which are also deposited in the MCZ collection ( MCZ 39898 View Materials and 39911). The specimen in ques- tion was proposed to have been captured aboard the RV Silver Bay in 1957. The Silver Bay was active throughout the GOM in 1957 (Berry and Drummond 1967), with several sampling locations in the known depth range of this species. Therefore, it is possible that the specimen was collected at another location and mislabeled. Video footage taken during a deepwater ROV survey conducted off the west Florida shelf in 2014 by the NOAA OOER verifies that this species does indeed occur in the northern GOM ( Figure 18 View FIGURE 18 ). The fact that this is the first report of this species from the northern GOM indicates that it is extremely rare in the region and if collected in the future, representative specimens should be deposited in research collections with accurate locality data.

Conservation Status. Data Deficient