The yellow shovelnose stingaree (Trygonoptera galba) is a little-known star in the Urolophidae family. Endemic to Western Australia’s continental shelf, this critter was first collected in 1981 by the Taiwanese ship FV Hai Kung during exploratory fishery surveys. Identified as Trygonoptera sp. A, the yellow shovelnose stingaree officially was described in 2008 by Peter Last and Gordon Yearsley in a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) article. The species name galba comes from the Latin ‘galbus’ which translates to ‘yellow,’ a nod to the animal’s colouration.
Observed in depths of 100-210 m (330-690 ft), they are a decently sized critter that can reach up to 39 cm (15 in) in length. They are a fairly common bottom-dweller who prefers sandy substrates. Their diet is unknown, as is most of their natural history; in fact, we can only assume they are ovoviparous (also known as aplacental viviparous) like other stingrays. How little we know about them is why the IUCN has assessed these animals as Data Deficient (DD).
Still, these animals are quite beautiful even if they do remain a mystery. Yellow shovelnose stingarees are a pale yellow on their dorsal side that darkens on their fins. They sport a long, triangular snout, medium sized eyes (that have spiracles behind them) and a short tail… they also lack a dorsal fin! #Finfact: Yellow shovelnose stingarees are closely related to the western shovelnose stingaree (Trygonoptera mucosa).
want to see these stingarees? so do we!
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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