Bluespotted Maskray Click to enlarge image
A Bluespotted Maskray at a depth of 23 m, Ribbon Reef # 3, Great Barrier Reef, off Cooktown, Queensland, June 2002. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    kuhlii
    Genus
    Neotrygon
    Family
    Dasyatidae
    Order
    Myliobatiformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to a disc width of 40 cm and a total length of 70 cm.

Introduction

The Bluespotted Maskray has light blue and black spots. The species occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West Pacific.



Identification

The Bluespotted Maskray has a grey to brown disc with light blue and black spots. It has a dusky band crossing the eyes and the interorbital region. The species has a long pale-tipped tail, the posterior third of which is crossed by dark bands.

For many years, the species was called Dasyatis kuhlii. The 2008 paper of Last and White (see References, below) placed the species in the genus Neotrygon.

Habitat

The Bluespotted Maskray lives in coastal and estuarine waters. It is often observed buried in sand or mud with only the eyes exposed.

Distribution

It occurs throughout the tropical Indo-West Pacific. In Australia the species is known from the central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north and south to the New South Wales north coast.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  5. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994 Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.
  6. Last, P.R. & White, W.T. 2008. Resurrection of the genus Neotrygon Castelnau (Myliobatoidei: Dasyatidae) with the description of Neotrygon picta sp. nov., a new species from northern Australia. 315-326 in Last, P.R., White, W.T. & Pogonoski, J.J. (eds). Descriptions of new Australian chondrichthyans. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper No. 022: 1-358
  7. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.