Flapnose ray

IDENTIFYING FEATURES

The head features an unusual double-lobed snout and indented forehead. The long, thin whip-like tails are distinctly demarcated from the body and armed with one or more stings.  The disc width can get to 150 cm. This species can sometimes be found in large groups, with up to 500 having been reported.

DISTRIBUTION

Indo-west Pacific, in South Africa found in KwaZulu-Natal. The animals of this family are highly migratory.

HABITAT

Found in bays, estuaries and near coral reefs, over sand and mud bottoms.

DIET

They use their plate-like teeth to feed on clams, oysters and crustaceans.

REPRODUCTION

Little is known about the biology of this species. This species is ovoviviparous – live birth. The large size at birth (50 - 63 cm disc width) suggests only one or two pups at a time. Their longevity, age and size at maturity and gestation period are unknown.

CONSERVATION

Flapnose rays are fished for food, forming a component of inshore artisanal fisheries. They are occasionally caught as bycatch in trawlers' nets. The catch record information for this species is not well known but its inshore habitat makes it vulnerable to a wide variety of fishing methods. It is landed and marketed in various countries. In South Africa the recreational bag limit is 1 per day.

STATUS

It is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

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