Sharks, rays and chimaeras of the Seine and Unicorn seamounts

Published on
11 December 2021

Sharks, rays and chimaeras of the Seine and Unicorn seamounts (NE Atlantic Ocean)

Mafalda FREITAS, Ricardo SOUSA, Pedro IDEIA, Madalena GASPAR, João DELGADO, Ana Luísa COSTA, Antonina dos SANTOS & Manuel BISCOITO



Seamounts are underwater mountains which typically rise rather steeply at least several hundred meters above the deep-sea floor. These geological features interrupt water flow and hence may induce changes in the circulation of different water masses, in turn causing different physical and biological effects. For this reason, seamounts are biodiversity hotspots, housing a wide number of species, as is with the case of the Seine and Unicorn seamounts, which are a part of the Madeira-Tore seamount chain located between Portugal mainland, southwestern Europe and Madeira archipelago (NE Atlantic).


Fisheries independent surveys allowed the collection of Chondrichthyes specimens from the Seine and Unicorn seamounts. Individuals were caught over the course of two research cruises, first in 2004 and later in 2017, with species distribution ranging from the summit down to 2500 m of depth.


Fifteen species belonging to 7 different taxonomical families were collected in the two surveyed areas. Two species were recorded for the first time and added to the checklist of the Seine seamount (Centrophorus granulosus and Somniosus rostratus), and three species for the Unicorn seamount (C. granulosus, Centroscymnus coelolepis and Centroselachus crepidater). Distribution and frequency of occurrence for the collected species were evaluated in relation to depth.


This work is a valuable contribution to the knowledge of seamount-associated fish fauna. Moreover, the checklist of sharks, rays and chimaeras was updated for the Seine and Unicorn seamounts, summing up 20 species.

Mar Biodivers Rec 14, 23 (2021). DOI: 10.1186/s41200-021-00218-4


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