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Masked Stingaree

Masked Stingaree

Trygonoptera personata

The masked stingaree ranges from  Geographe Bay north to Shark Bay, Western Australia and is one of 22 species of stingaree to occur in Australian waters.  A small species, the masked stingaree grows to a maximum size of 47 centimetres.  They can be recognised by a distinct dark mask around and between the eyes and a second dark patch at the centre of the back upon a yellow-brown or grey dorsal surface.  The tail is light in colour with a black tip possessing a dorsal fin above the spine.  As with most stingarees, the masked stingaree is an aplacental viviporous (used to be known as ovoviviporous) species, whereby the eggs hatch within the uterus, and the young are not nourished by a placenta, but a yolk sac which is their only food source until their live birth.  Ovulation and conception occur in July, and after a 10 month gestation period give birth to one or two young once a year.  Maturity occurs at approximately 23 centimetres across the disc and this will be reached by four years of age.  Female masked stingarees have a greater longevity than males, reaching a maximum age of 16 and 10 years respectively.

Masked stingarees are relatively common on sand near or under rocky reefs and sea grass flats to depths of at least 70 metres.  Their diet primarily consists of polychaete worms and crustaceans.

Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty: 

The masked stingray is observed on a rare basis from the underwater observatory.

Image by: O. Rynvis