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Aetomylaeus caeruleofasciatus, a new species of eagle ray (Myliobatiformes: Myliobatidae) from northern Australia and New Guinea


A new species of eagle ray, Aetomylaeus caeruleofasciatus sp. nov., is described based on specimens collected in northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea. The new species is very closely related to Aetomylaeus nichofii and was previously considered to be conspecific with this species. The new species and A. nichofii differ from their congeners in having a dorsal pattern of seven or eight transverse pale blue bands. As with other eagle ray species, morphological characteristics which distinguish the closely related species were largely obscured by intraspecific variation. The clearest morphological differences were apparent when comparing adult males to adult males and adult females to adult females, e.g. disc longer in adult female A. caeruleofasciatus compared to adult female A. nichofii. The two species also differ in the number of pelvic radials in both females and males and show subtle colour differences. A neotype is also allocated for A. nichofii.

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Two of us (WW, PL) are supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF; grant (Jaws and Backbone: Chondrichthyan Phylogeny and a Spine for the Vertebrate Tree of Life; DEB-01132229). Two of us (WW, LB) are supported by an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR; grant (FIS/2012/102) and would like to thank Chris Barlow and Jes Sammut for their support. We would like to thank the following people for their contribution to this study: Gavin Naylor, Shannon Corrigan, Elisabeth Rochel and Lei Yang (College of Charleston) for providing NADH2 sequence data; Sharon Appleyard and Bob Ward (CSIRO) and Dirk Steinke (University of Guelph) for providing CO1 sequence data; Alastair Graham (CSIRO) for providing registration numbers and collection data for Australian specimens; John Pogonoski (CSIRO) for obtaining digital radiographs of specimens and editing of the final draft of the manuscript; Carlie Devine (CSIRO) for preparing images; Baera Nawia (NFA fisheries observer) for collection of the 3 paratypes of the new species in the Gulf of Papua. We would also like to thank the following museum staff for their hospitality during museum visits by WW and/or for providing collection data for material: Mamoru Yabe, Hisashi Imamura, Toshio Kawai, Kazuhiro Nakaya, Keisuke Ogimoto and other students (HUMZ); Hsuan-Ching Ho (NMMBP); James Maclaine and Oliver Crimmen (BMNH); Jeff Johnson (QM); Mark McGrouther and Sally Reader (AMS); Michael Hammer and Gavin Dally (NTM); and Renny Hadiaty (Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense, Jakarta, MZB).

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Correspondence to William T. White.

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This article was registered in the Official Register of Zoological Nomenclature (ZooBank) as F38493BE-4B20-4645-8CDB-71F2E4F4BFE5.

This article was published as an Online First article on the online publication date shown on this page. The article should be cited by using the doi number.

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White, W.T., Last, P.R. & Baje, L. Aetomylaeus caeruleofasciatus, a new species of eagle ray (Myliobatiformes: Myliobatidae) from northern Australia and New Guinea. Ichthyol Res 63, 94–109 (2016).

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  • Aetomylaeus
  • New species
  • Australia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Morphology