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ESR prepress abstract   -  DOI:

Notable abundance of two Critically Endangered elasmobranch fishes near an area of intensive coastal development in the Arabian Gulf

Shamsa Al Hameli, Stephan Bruns, Aaron C. Henderson*

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The Pakistan whipray Maculabatis arabica and the halavi guitarfish Glaucostegus halavi are Critically Endangered elasmobranch species that are endemic to areas of the northern Indian Ocean. An unexpectedly high abundance of both species in a shallow, nearshore area of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is described here. Both species were found to utilise this area year-round, although seasonal fluctuations in abundance were evident. Male and female G. halavi were encountered at sizes that suggest a mix of immature and mature individuals; however, all except one M. arabica were female indicating sexual segregation in this species. Further studies are required to learn more about the importance of the study area in the life history of these Critically Endangered species, but it is a matter of considerable concern that the wider Khor Faridah area is currently undergoing intensive coastal development.