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To see photographs of the Southern Fiddler Ray (Trygonorrhina fasciata) click here.

Southern Fiddler Ray (Trygonorrhina fasciata)

Southern Fiddler Ray (Trygonorrhina fasciata)

All text on this page is copyright protected: © 2014 Kelvin Aitken.
All rights reserved. Students may use this information for personal research only. Not for commercial use.

Order: Rajiformes
Family: Rhinobatidae subfamily Rhinobatinae
Genus: Trygonorrhina
Species: fasciata
Taxonomic name (of species shown above): Trygonorrhina fasciata
Other Common Names: Green Skate, Magpie Ray.

As a group the shovelnose rays enjoy Australia-wide distribution. They can be divided into two distinct groups: the shovelnose rays and the fiddler or banjo rays. All are harmless and approachable by snorkelers and divers.

The five species of shovelnose rays have pelvic fins joined to the body immediately behind the pectoral fins. They also have a translucent pointed snout, small rear-set dorsal fins and a tail with a nearly straight, as opposed to a curved, rear edge. All of these factors differentiate them from the similar White-spotted Guitarfish. The shovelnose rays are often seen by snorkelers resting on the bottom during the day usually on sand or seagrass beds where they feed on shells, crabs and worms.

Fiddler Rays

The two species of fiddler rays also have translucent snouts but they are shorter and more rounded. The Eastern Fiddler Ray (Trygonorrhina sp.), found on the east coast from southern Queensland to the eastern Victorian border, has a brown body colour with shades of yellow or olive. It has a pattern of pale lilac bands edged with dark brown and a distinctive triangle between and behind the eyes. The Southern Fiddler Ray (Trygonorrhina fasciata) is found from the eastern Victoria border to Perth. It has a darker yellowish brown body colour decorated with blue-grey bands which do not form a triangle between the eyes.

Both species can be found on reef, sand or seagrass beds where they feed on shelled invertebrates, crabs and worms which they crush between their jaws.

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