Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
The batoid family Urolophidae, otherwise known as stingarees, is represented in Australia by two genera Trygonoptera Mueller & Henle, 1841 ZBK and Urolophus Mueller & Henle, 1837 ZBK (Last & Stevens 1994; Last & Compagno 1999). Members of Trygonoptera ZBK are readily identified by the presence of broad, flattened fleshy lobes on the mid-lateral margin of each nostril (lobes absent in Urolophus ZBK ) (Last & Stevens 1994). Phylogenetically significant skeletal differences also distinguish the two genera and these are the subject of a forthcoming paper by Yearsley, Last & Gomon (in prep.).
Urolophus ZBK contains 22 valid nominal species, with 15 recorded from Australian seas (Last & Stevens 1994, Séret & Last 2003). Two new Australian Urolophus ZBK species were identified by Last & Stevens (1994): U. sp. B was recently described as U. piperatus Seret & Last, 2003 ZBK ; U. sp. A is described herein from specimens collected on fish surveys off eastern Australia. The new species and the sympatric U. paucimaculatus Dixon, 1969 ZBK are the only Urolophus ZBK species with a bell-shaped internasal flap but these species differ from one another in dorsal coloration, and in a number of morphological and meristic characters.