Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




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CAAB: 37039000


Cownose Rays, Devil Rays, Devilrays, Eagle Rays

Compiler and date details

16 May 2011 - Douglass F. Hoese, Gerald R. Allen, Norbert J. Cross & Dianne J. Bray


The Myliobatidae comprise four genera and about 22 species, widely distributed in all tropical and temperate seas; a few species are also restricted to cold water. The Australian fauna is represented by three genera and six species, including Myliobatis tenuicaudatus from Norfolk Island. The Mobulidae and Rhinopteridae are treated here as separate families following Last & Stevens (2009) and Compagno & Last (1999). Previously these groups were treated as subfamiilies of the Myliobatidae (Nelson 1994, 2006; Hoese et al. 2006). The Australian eagle rays were treated briefly and illustrated by Munro (1956), and in more detail by Last & Stevens (1994, 2009).

The largest eagle and cow-nosed rays have a width ('wingspan') of up to 2 m. The pavement-like teeth of some genera are used for crushing molluscs, crustaceans and other benthic invertebrates. These rays usually occur on inshore reefs or in estuaries over sand or mud bottoms, sometimes in the vicinity of coral reefs. Manta rays, in contrast, dwell in surface oceanic waters, but are sometimes encountered in near inshore reefs where they are seen alone, in pairs, or in small groups. Their diet consists of plankton, their reproduction is ovoviviparous.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
16-Apr-2012 16-Jul-2015 MODIFIED
16-Mar-2010 MODIFIED