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Western Stingaree

Western Stingaree

Trygonoptera mucosa

The western stingaree camouflages perfectly into its sand and seagrass habitats, where they are found to depths of up to 35 metres.  They are a pale-yellow colour with dusky spots over the surface.  They lack a dorsal fin and their caudal (tail) fin is dusky to black.

As with most stingarees, the western 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 June, and after a 12 month gestation period give birth to one or two young once a year.  Female and males reach a maximum age of 17 and 13 years respectively and mature at 5 and 2 years respectively at approximately 25 centimetres across the disc.

The western stingaree is endemic to Australia, occurring throughout southwestern waters from Glenelg, South Australia west to Dongara, Western Australia.  Their natural habitats include open and shallow seas and estuarine waters.  As a benthic species, the diet of the western stingaree consists primarily of polychaete worms.

This species also constitutes a considerable proportion of bycatch in the prawn and scallop trawl fisheries that operate in the northernmost part of their range off Perth and Mandurah.  However, only a small number of trawlers operate in their range, the main concern to the western stingaree population is that pregnant females often abort their young when stressed and because of their low fecundity and long gestation period, over time this could have a significant negative impact on the population.

Other common names include :  Bebil, kejetuck, western shovelnose stingaree.

Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty: 

One of the more common rays in the seagrass and sand at the jetty and can occasionally be spotted from the underwater observatory.