Not all fish are equal: functional biodiversity of cartilaginous fishes (Elasmobranchii and Holocephali) in Chile

J Fish Biol. 2014 Nov;85(5):1617-33. doi: 10.1111/jfb.12517. Epub 2014 Sep 26.


A review of the primary literature on the cartilaginous fishes (sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras), together with new information suggests that 106 species occur in Chilean waters, comprising 58 sharks, 30 skates, 13 rays and five chimaeras. The presence of 93 species was confirmed, although 30 species were encountered rarely, through validated catch records and sightings made in artisanal and commercial fisheries and on specific research cruises. Overall, only 63 species appear to have a range distribution that normally includes Chilean waters. Actual reliable records of occurrence are lacking for 13 species. Chile has a cartilaginous fish fauna that is relatively impoverished compared with the global species inventory, but conservative compared with countries in South America with warm-temperate waters. The region of highest species richness occurs in the mid-Chilean latitudes of c. 30-40° S. This region represents a transition zone with a mix of species related to both the warm-temperate Peruvian province to the north and cold-temperate Magellan province to the south. This study provides clarification of species occurrence and the functional biodiversity of Chile's cartilaginous fish fauna.

Keywords: checklist; chimaera; shark; skate; south-east Pacific Ocean; species richness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biodiversity*
  • Chile
  • Elasmobranchii / classification*
  • Pacific Ocean