Fiddler ray

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Fiddler rays
Trygonorrhina sp.jpg
Eastern fiddler ray (Trygonorrhina fasciata) from Botany Bay
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Rajiformes
Family: Rhinobatidae
Genus: Trygonorrhina
J. P. Müller & Henle, 1838

The fiddler rays are a genus, Trygonorrhina, of guitarfish, family Rhinobatidae. The two species are found along the eastern and southern coasts of Australia. They are benthic in nature, favoring shallow, sandy bays, rocky reefs, and seagrass beds. The eastern fiddler is found to a depth of 120 m and the southern fiddler to a depth of 180 m.[1][2]

The flattened pectoral fin discs of fiddler rays are shorter and more rounded than those of other guitarfishes. Their tails are slender, with a well-developed caudal fin and two triangular dorsal fins.[3] Their snouts are translucent.[1] The fiddler rays are also distinguished from other guitarfishes in that the anterior nasal flaps of their nostrils are expanded backwards and fused together into a nasal curtain that reaches the mouth.[4]

Fiddler rays feed on bottoms shellfish, crabs, and worms, which they crush between their jaws.[1] The eastern fiddler ray is known to scavenge from fish traps.[4] Like other guitarfishes, fiddler rays are ovoviviparous. The egg capsules of the southern fiddler ray are reported to be golden in colour, containing three embryos each.[2] It gives birth to litters of four to six young per breeding cycle.[5] Fiddler rays are harmless and easily approached by divers.[1] Southern fiddler rays are taken as bycatch by commercial trawlers and by recreational fishers; the flesh is of good quality and sold in small quantities.[5] The Magpie fiddler ray is a very rare distinctive ray known from only a few individuals from shallow waters of the Gulf St Vincent, South Australia. Upper side bluish to brownish-black and mottled with irregular cream blotches and spots.[6]



  1. ^ a b c d Aitken, K. (2002). Southern Fiddler Ray (Trygonorrhina dumerilii) & Eastern Fiddler Ray (Trygonorrhina faciata). Rhinobatidae. Marine Themes. Retrieved on 21 November 2008.
  2. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2011). "Trygonorrhina fasciata" in FishBase. February 2011 version.
  3. ^ McGrouther, M. (March 2006). Eastern Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina faciata . Australian Museum. Retrieved on 21 November 2008.
  4. ^ a b Compagno, L.J.V. and Last, P.R. (1999). "Rhinobatidae: Guitarfishes". In Carpenter, K.E. and Niem, V.H. FAO identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Rome: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 92-5-104302-7. 
  5. ^ a b Reardon, M. (2003). Trygonorrhina fasciata. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
  6. ^ Dianne J. Bray, 2011, Magpie Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina melaleuca, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Oct 2014,