The biodiversity of species and their rates of extinction, distribution, and protection

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Science  30 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6187, 1246752
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246752

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  • RE: Pinocchioland: the role of the Brazilian Amazonian coast in elasmobranch conservation
    • Natascha Wosnick, Research Associate, Universidade Federal do Maranhão
    • Other Contributors:
      • Ana Rita Onodera Palmeira, Research Associate, Universidade Federal do Maranhão
      • Jorge Luiz Silva Nunes, Professor, Universidade Federal do Maranhão

    In a world dictated by fake news, one thing is unarguably true: sharks and batoids are among the most endangered vertebrates worldwide (1). When progress run over conservation, anthropogenic impacts occur in a nightmare-worthy scale and sustainable harvesting seems like distant dream. The Amazonian ecosystems are cradles of life, with high levels of biological diversity and speciation rates (2). However, exploitation in the region have increased at alarming levels and contingency plans are either flawed or non-existent.

    In their review, Prim et al. demonstrate the importance of the Amazon coast in terms of richness and endemism, however, the projection considered only freshwater fish (3). The Brazilian Amazon coast is a hotspot for elasmobranch conservation and the status of the Amazonian chondrofauna can be allegorically compared to the story of Pinocchio, the liar doll. In our context, Pinocchios are elasmobranch species that exhibit a prominent snout, and/or a life history affected by overexploitation and possibly irreversible population declines (1).

    Further, the Amazonian coast can be compared to the Grand Marionette Theatre, a somber, but still hypnotizing place with a high concentration of endemic/threatened with extinction long-snout species. Besides extinct sawfishes (i.e., Atlanticopristis and Onchopristis) (4), the region is home for seven extant Pinocchio species (Fontitrygon colarensis, F. geijskesi, Isogomphodon oxyrhynchus, Pristis pristis, P...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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