Neotrygon ningalooensis n. sp. (Myliobatoidei: Dasyatidae), a new maskray from Australia

Peter R. Last, William T. White, Melody Puckridge

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 37-50, Volume 16, Issue 2 – 20 April 2010


A new maskray, Neotrygon ningalooensis n. sp., is described from material collected near Coral Bay in the Ningaloo Marine Park, off the central coast of Western Australia, where its distribution appears to be restricted and patchy. However, other recently accessed material, collected further south (Shark Bay, Western Australia) and east (Gove, Northern Territory), suggest that this species is more widespread. Like other members of the genus Neotrygon, it lives primarily on sandy substrates but often hides partly concealed beneath small coral bommies during the day. Its eyes are relatively more protrusible than its congeners enabling it to bury deeply in soft sediments with its eyes still exposed. The type specimens were speared in shallow water near the shore in close association with two congeners, N. leylandi and N. kuhlii, from which it differs in colour and morphology. Neotrygon ningalooensis and N. ley­landi both have an ornate dorsal coloration but lack the vivid blue spots typical of N. kuhlii. Molecular analysis has confirmed that the three sympatric species at Ningaloo are specifically distinct.

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