Maskrays, Neotrygon spp., are a group of Stingrays, Dasyatidae, found in the Indian Ocean and west Pacific. They get their name from a distinctive coloured marking around the eyes, which resembles a mask, but have a number of other distinctive features, including short tails with well developed dorsal fins, small mouths with enlarged cuspid teeth, and large pectoral fins with a single row of thorns along their dorsal midline. All Maskrays were formerly thought to belong to a single widespread and somewhat variable species, Neotrygon kuhlii, but genetic studies have shown that there are in fact a range of species, with eleven described to date.
In a paper published on the bioRxiv beta database on 23 August 2017, Annam Pavan-Kumar of the Fish Genetics and Biotechnology Division at the Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Rajan Kumar of the Fisheries Resources and Postharvest Division also at the Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Pranali Pitale, again of the Fish Genetics and Biotechnology Division at the Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Kang-Ning Shen of the Aquatic Technology Laboratories at the Agricultural Technology Research Institute, and Philippe Borsa of the Institut de recherche pour le développement, describe a new species of Maskray from the east coast of India.
The new species is named Neotrygon indica, in reference to the area where it is found. The species is described from two female specimens, with disk widths of 236 and 213 mm, light in colour with a pattern of blue spots, dark spots and dark speckles. The specimens from which the species was described were obtained from the Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, but which form part of a population that extends along the shores of the states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu on the east coast of India. Pavan-Kumar et al. suspect that populations off the coast of Kerala on the west coast of India and Tanzania may belong to the same species.
Neotrygon indica, female specimen with a 174 mm disc length from the Gulf of Mannar, Tamil Nadu, India. Pavan-Kumar et al. (2017).
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