7 thoughts on “Stingray fossil, 100 million years old, for sale

  1. Rare stingray discovered in Wagonga inlet

    20 Jan, 2010 10:40 AM

    RESEARCHERS from the University of Newcastle and the Batemans Marine Park have discovered a species of stingray never before seen in Wagonga Inlet.

    The estuary stingray (Dasyatis fluviorum) has never been recorded any further south than Botany Bay and disappeared from the Sydney region by the 1880s.

    Batemans Marine Park research scientist Dr Melinda Coleman said finding the estuary stingray in Wagonga Inlet was “a big surprise”.

    “This is a significant finding. The species is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable,” Dr Coleman said.

    “It has dramatically decreased in number over the past century probably due to the impact of commercial fishing which would have caught the stingray as bycatch. Habitat modification of shallow foreshore waters, where these creatures are frequently found feeding, may also have played a role in the decline.

    “The fact that both these activities have been significantly limited in the pristine waters of Wagonga Inlet may go some way towards explaining why they have been found here,” Dr Coleman said.

    The stingray was discovered using baited underwater video cameras which film marine life attracted to the bait.

    Professor Bill Gladstone, from the University of Newcastle and currently at the University of Technology, said the video work was part of a pilot study aimed at optimising methods of investigating estuarine fish communities within the Batemans Marine Park.

    “We are planning to launch a larger research program and we were trying to find out just which methods worked best in estuaries.

    “The discovery of the estuary stingray wasn’t realised until PhD Student Steve Lindfield was analysing the video footage later on and recognised the stingray as Dasyatis fluviorum. And what a great find!

    “This find really warrants further survey work to determine the abundance of the species within Wagonga Inlet and other estuaries in the Batemans Marine Park,” Professor Gladstone said.

    The estuary stingray may be seen feeding on mudflats with the incoming tide and is distinguished by its extra long tail, the white marking along the edge of its body and ‘tubercules’ or bumps along the top of its body.

    “Fishers are reminded that stingrays are not only protected in sanctuary zones but also in habitat protection zones and if hooked should be returned to the water without harm,” Professor Gladstone said.


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