The spotted shovelnose ray is an extremely rare species of guitarfish found in a small area of the Timor Sea off the coast of northern Australia.
The spotted shovelnose ray was originally known from only one specimen caught on the edge of the Australian Fishing Zone, but since then a few more specimens have been found in the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium in Taiwan. It is not known where these specimens were collected but it is assumed to be northern Australia. Hardly anything is known about this elusive species.
This species threat category is based on an estimated extent of occurrence of approximately 18,000km² and a presumed patchy distribution (less than 10 sites) throughout an already limited range.
Due to the lack of knowledge about this species, the threats faced by the spotted shovelnose ray are unknown. The presumed area of occurrence faces unregulated fishing which is a concern for this species because of its apparently small population size and restricted range. The area adjacent to the Australian Fishing Zone where the single specimen of this species was found is in Indonesian waters. Batoids, the common name of the group to which this species belongs, compose a large part of Indonesian fishery catches and all are retained and sold. This could pose a serious threat to this extremely rare species.
There are currently no conservation actions in place for this species. According to the IUCN, surveys in the Timor and Arafura Seas are needed in order to record any records of the spotted shovelnose ray. In this way, scientists can gain valuable knowledge on population size and range.
- Order: Rajiformes
- Family: Rhinobatidae
- Population: Unknown
- Trend: unknown
- Size: 58.2cm (?)
- Depth Range (m): 124m
The spotted shovelnose ray has only been found in a small area of the Timor Sea off northern Australia.
Habitat and Ecology
Virtually nothing is known about the biology and ecology of the spotted shovelnose ray. The single specimen collected was a 58.2cm female found on the continental shelf at a depth of 124m. By comparing it with the other two members of the Aptychotrema genus, the western shovelnose ray (A. vinventiana) and the eastern shovelnose ray (A. rostrata), scientists assume their reproduction mode is lecithotrophic viviparity with a litter size of between 4 and 18 pups.