Masked Stingaree: Trygonoptera personata

Family: Urolophidae
Common name(s)

Striped stingaree.

Identification

A medium-sized stingaree with a sub-circular or rounded kite-shaped disc that is equal to or slightly longer than wide. Snout obtusely angular, with a very small lobe at tip. Anterior margins of disc slightly convex, apices broadly rounded. Disc completely smooth.
Eyes medium-sized; orbit length 21-28% of snout length. Spiracle origin below mid-eye. Mouth small. 3-4 oral papillae on mouth floor. Nasal curtain skirt shaped, not extended into a distinct lobe, posterior margin heavily fringed. Broad lateral-posterior lobe present on each nostril.
Tail 0.67-0.86 x disc length, slightly depressed or oval in cross-section. Moderately large dorsal fin present anterior to caudal sting. Caudal fin relatively long.

Colour

Dorsum grey, brownish-grey, or pale with a dark brownish mask across eyes, and dark brownish bar across nape. Caudal fin dark. Ventrum mostly white or yellowish, sometimes with a dusky margin.

Size

Maximum length 55cm. Length at birth approximately 20cm.

Habitat

Subtropical/temperate seas. Found on sandy substrates and seagrass beds. Shallow bays to At least 115m.

Distribution

Southeast Indian Ocean. Endemic to Southwestern Australia between Geographe Bay and Shark Bay.

Conservation Status

LEAST CONCERN

The Masked Stingaree forms a component of the biomass of bycatch in the scallop and prawn trawl fisheries that operate off Perth and Mandurah. A trawl survey of demersal fishes on the coastal shelf regions of southwestern Australia in the early 1990s reported that the species constituted 2.6% of the total biomass of fish caught (Laurenson et al. 1993, Hyndes et al. 1999). Only a small number of trawlers operate in these fisheries, and while some small-scale trawl operations exist in the northern part of the species range (i.e. Abrolhos Islands and Shark Bay) which may potentially take the species as bycatch, the overall trawl fishing pressure across the species’ range is low.
Where the species is taken as bycatch, a concern is the demonstrated low post-release survivorship of trawl caught stingarees (Campbell et al. 2018), and the fact that urolophids frequently abort pups upon capture and handling; even if gravid females survived capture, their reproductive output can be lost (White et al. 2001, Trinnie et al. 2009, Adams et al. 2018).
The species may also be subject to localised habitat loss and degradation due to increased levels of recreational water use and development in shallow embayments around southern Australia.

Citation

Kyne, P.M. & White, W.T. 2019. Trygonoptera personataThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T60084A68648341. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T60084A68648341.en. Downloaded on 20 March 2021.

Reproduction

Viviparous, probably with trophodermic nutrition. Litter size 1-2. Gestation 10-12 months.

Diet

Feeds mostly on polychaete worms and crustaceans.

Behavior

Poorly known.

Reaction to divers

Skittish but approachable with non-threatening movements.

Diving logistics

Masked stingarees are fairly common on sandy substrates adjacent to rocky reefs at Rottnest Island near Perth, WA.

Similar species

Striped Stingaree Distinguishable by parallel dark stripes along midline.