The Estuary stingray (Hemitrygon fluviorum) is an animal found along the north-eastern Australian coast in estuaries, seagrass meadows, and mangrove swamps. Once thought to be a common animal here, it has been discovered that their population has declined due to habitat loss (thanks to coastal development). Records of these animals from New Guinea seem to be mis-identifications.
This species was previously known as Dasyatis fluviorum. Also known as the “Brown Stingray,” “Estuary Stingaree,” and “River Stingray,” they are a yellow-brown color with a row of spines that go from the middle of their rhomboid-like disc down to the base of their rather long tail. Yes, this tail does have a venomous spine on it, so watch out! They can measure up to 120 cm in disc width (DW).
Like all other elasmobranchs, they are carnivores and hunt on the mudflats during the incoming tide to feed on benthic invertebrates such as crustaceans, shellfish, and molluscs. The Estuary Stingray is listed as Vulnerable (VU) by the IUCN. They are at risk of being bycatch due to the fisheries that operate in their range, as well as under pressure from coastal development.
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