Captive Elasmobranch Census

The 2008 AES International Captive Elasmobranch Census

This year’s Census details elasmobranch collections from institutions located throughout the world including the United States and its territories. All information contained within the Census was provided on a voluntary basis and is managed by the American Elasmobranch Society’s Captive Elasmobranch Census Committee Chairman.

Each Census participant receives a copy of the master participation list that provides contact information for all participants. Participants will receive a copy of the Census. The Census can be downloaded from the American Elasmobranch Society website.

Census Organization

The Census is organized by elasmobranch species. Institutions holding those species are listed by institutional participation number below each species heading.

Participation and Participation Numbers

Some participating collection managers and facilities prefer to have their collection composition remain private. To maintain privacy, each participating institution is assigned a participation number. Each participant knows their participation number but not the number of other participants. The key to the participation numbers is maintained by the Census Chair and the identity of participants in relation to collection composition remains privileged information and is available to Census participants through the Census Chair.

Non-participants in the Census do not have access to institutional identities participating in the Census. Inquiries for information from the Census by non-participants may be made to the Census Chair. These requests will be forwarded to the appropriate institutions. Responding to non-participant requests inquiries is the prerogative of the participants only.

Census Overview and Summary

Total Number of Participating Facilities:  129

National Facilities:  71
International Facilities:  58

Total Number of Species Reported:  213

Total Number of Shark Species Reported:  31
Genus with Most Species Reported:  Carcharhinus
Genus with Most Individuals Reported:  Chiloscyllium

Total Number of Ray and Skate Species Reported:  25
Genus with Most Species Reported:  Dasyatis
Genus with Most Individuals Reported:  Dasyatis

Total Number of Chimaera Species Reported:  1
Genus with Most Species Reported:  Hydrolagus
Genus with Most Individuals Reported:  Hydrolagus

Number of reported elasmobranchs in participating facilities:

Total Number of Elasmobranchs = 9578
Total Males = 3196
Total Females = 4147
Total Unknowns = 2235

Total Sharks:  Males = 1678;  Females = 2230;  Unknown = 1265

Total Rays and Skates:  Males = 1487;  Females = 1893;  Unknowns = 969

Total Chimaeras:  Males = 31;  Females = 24;  Unknown = 1

Most Numerous Shark Species

Sand tiger – Carcharias taurus
Males = 137;  Females = 105;  Unknown = 0;  TOTAL = 242

Whitespotted bamboo shark – Chiloscyllium plagiosum
Males = 201;  Females = 274;  Unknown = 218;  TOTAL = 693

Brown banded bamboo shark – Chiloscyllium punctatum
Males = 103;  Females = 202;  Unknown = 108;  TOTAL = 413

Nurse shark – Ginglymostoma cirratum
Males = 103;  Females = 105;  Unknown = 26;  TOTAL = 234

Small-spotted catshark – Scyliorhinus canicula
Males = 112;  Females = 106;  Unknown = 404;  TOTAL = 622

Most Numerous Ray and Skate Species

Cownose ray – Rhinoptera bonasus
Males = 348;  Females = 402;  Unknown = 126;  TOTAL = 876

Southern ray –Dasyatis americana
Males = 205;  Females = 354;  Unknown = 135;  TOTAL = 694

Thornback skate – Raja clavata
Males = 51;  Females = 91;  Unknown = 127;  TOTAL = 269

Javanese cownose ray – Rhinoptera javanica
Males = 7;  Females = 13;  Unknown = 204;  TOTAL = 224

Ocellated freshwater ray – Potamotrygon motoro
Males = 97;  Females = 97;  Unknown = 14;  TOTAL = 208

Most Numerous Chimaera Species

Spotted Ratfish – Hydrolagus colliei
Only one species of ratfish is reported to be held in captivity during this survey
Males = 31;  Females = 24;  Unknown = 1;  TOTAL = 56

The following species were not held in participating facilities in the 2006 NCEC or in the 2005 ICEC:

Carcharhinus sealei – Blackspot shark
Carcharhinus wheelerii – Shortnose blacktailed reef shark***
Cephaloscyllium umbratile – Blotchy swell shark
Cirrhoscyllium japonicum – Saddle carpet shark
Galeus eastmani – Gecko catshark
Galeus longirostris – Longnose sawtail catshark
Hemitriakis complicofaciata*** – Hemitriakis complicofaciata
Parascyllium ferrugineum – Rusty carpetshark
Parmaturus melanobranchus – Blackgill catshark
Parmaturus xaniurus – Filetail catshark
Pristiophorus japonicus – Japanese sawshark
Procyllium venustumProscyllium venustum
Rhizoprionodon terraenovae – Atlantic sharpnose shark
Scyliorhinus besnardi – Polkadot catshark
Scyliorhinus tokubee – Izu catshark
Squalus brevirostrisSqualus brevirostris
Squalus megalops – Shortnose spurdog
Squalus blainville – Longnose spurdog
Atlantoraja castelnaui – Spotback skate
Dasyatis brevicaudata – Short-tail stingray
Dasyatis chrysonota – Blue stingray
Dasyatis hypostigmaDasyatis hypostigma
Dasyatis thetidis – Thorntail stingray
Dipturus oxyrynchus -Longnose skate
Himantura gerrardi – Sharpnosed stingray
Leucoraja naevus – Cuckoo ray
Mobula japanica – Spinetale mobula
Myliobatis goodei – Southern eagle ray
Myliobatis tenuicaudatus – New Zealand eagle ray
Okamejei kenojei – Ocellate spot skate
Okamejei acutispina – Sharpspine skate
Pastinachus sephen – Cowtail stingray
Poroderma pantherinum – Blackspotted catshark
Potamotrygon motoro x leopoldi – Motoro x leopoldi hybrid river stingray
Potamotrygon sp. – Pearl ray
Pteromylaeus bovinus – Bull ray
Rhinobatos horkelii – Brazilian guitarfish
Rioraja agassizi – Rio skate
Sympterygia acuta – Bignose fanskate
Sympterygia bonaparti – Smallnose fanskate
Urobatis maculatus – Spotted round ray

The following regional coordinators and sponsoring institutions assisted in the compilation of the information in the Census:

Coordinator Institution Region
Kathy Vires Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo
Omaha, Nebraska
Central USA
Andy Dehart National Aquarium in Washington, DC
Washington DC
Northern USA, Australia,
and South Africa
Jennifer Dancico Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
South USA
Bob Snowden The Aquarium at Moody Gardens
Galveston, Texas
West USA
Becky Ellsworth Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Columbus, Ohio
Midwest USA
Joao P Correia FlyingSharks
Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal and Spain
Graham Hill The Deep
East Yorkshire, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Manoel Gonzalez NUPEC
Sao Paulo, Brazil
South and Central America
David Lai OceanPark Corporation
Aberdeen, Hong Kong

I would like to thank each regional coordinator and their sponsoring institution for their support, time, and enthusiasm. I would like to thank the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center for supporting my work on this project.

Beth Firchau
AES Captive Elasmobranch Census Committee Chair
Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center