SCIENTISTS UNCOVER THREE NEW STINGRAY SPECIES IN THE INDO-PACIFIC
The bluespotted maskray (Neotrygon kuhlii), once thought to be widely distributed in the Indo-West Pacific, consists of a complex of several species, Australian researchers published their findings in the latest issue of Zootaxa.
Based in genetic molecular and morphological data provide confirmatory evidence that maskray are distinct groups from some other regional forms. Three members of the complex from the Western Pacific identified in earlier studies are confirmed to be new species:
Australian Bluespotted Maskray Neotrygon australiae (from Australia, New Guinea and eastern Indonesia found in shallow water, 38-90m in 2009)
A reddish brown to greenish stingray with blue spots and scattered black spots on the disc, a dark ‘mask’ through the eyes and a very long tail with black and white bars on the rear. this new species have two venomous spines on the tail that may cause extremely painful wounds.
Bluespotted Maskray Neotrygon caeruleopunctata (found in the Indian Ocean, from Central Java, Indonesia) Its name Derived from the Latin caeruleus (sky blue) and punctum (dot or spot) with reference to its bluespotted coloration and having a wider distribution than other blue-spotted forms. It have a single caudal sting. it was collected from fish landing sites.
Oriental Bluespotted Maskray Neotrygon orientale (Found in the North-West Pacific) These stingrays were taken from fisheries bycatch and fish landing sites in Kalimantan and West Java (Jakarta) in Indonesia. Accurate depth information not available but probably found mostly inshore in depths of less than 100 m.
Its name demarcates the South-East Asian distribution of this member of the bluespotted maskray complex within the genus Neotrygon. It have a single sting.
These species differ from each other and Neotrygon kuhlii in their adult size, anterior angle of the disc, number and distribution of blue spots on the dorsal disc, and other more subtle morphometric and meristic characters.
bluespotted maskray (Neotrygon kuhlii) by Bernard Dupont
- Reference: Last et al. 2016. Taxonomic status of maskrays of the Neotrygon kuhlii species complex (Myliobatoidei: Dasyatidae) with the description of three new species from the Indo-West Pacifi. BioTaxa