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Rhynchobatus mononoke, a new species of wedgefish (Rhinopristiformes: Rhinidae) from Japan, with comments on Rhynchobatus laevis (Bloch and Schneider 1801)


Rhynchobatus mononoke sp. nov. (Rhinopristiformes: Rhinidae) is described from mature male and female specimens from southern Japan. A juvenile specimen, newly born from a captive individual collected from Kagoshima, is also referenced (non-type). The new species can be distinguished from congeners by a combination of its obtusely wedge-shaped snout, bluntly rounded dorsal fins, first dorsal fin originating about level with the pelvic-fin origin, and the outer fold on the spiracle posterior margin more pronounced than the inner fold. Distinctive coloration of the new species included a black blotch, followed by a single white spot (rarely absent) posterodorsally on the middle of the pectoral disc, and a large black blotch covering the anterior half of the undersurface of snout. Distinct white spots distally on the pectoral disc to the middorsal area were absent. Most previous records of species of Rhynchobatus in Japanese waters were reidentified as Rhynchobatus australiae, except for the records from the northern East China Sea. Rhynchobatus mononoke appears to be endemic to southern Japan.

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We are especially grateful to P.R. Last (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) for kindly providing data for the BMNH paratypes of R. mononoke; B. Russell (Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory) for assisting with photographs of the mounted holotype of R. laevis; T. Ishida (Nagasaki City) and H. Hata (National Museum of Nature and Science) for providing type specimens of R. mononoke sp. nov.; N. Miura (Joint Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kagoshima University), H. Wada, T. Uejo, and J. Nakamura (KAUM) for the computed tomography scans and measuring specimens; T. Koido (KBF) for SEM photography; T. Ose and members of the Exhibitions Unit, Kagoshima City Aquarium for information on captive specimens; and H. Senou (Kanagawa Prefectural Museum), R. Misawa (Tohoku National Fisheries Research Institute), and T. Uejo for providing references. We also thank J. Fukada, A. Hashimoto (Stella Chemifa Corporation), and members of KBF and KAUM for curatorial and economic assistance. G. S. Hardy (Ngunguru, New Zealand) kindly improved the English in the manuscript. This study was supported in part by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP23580259, JP26450265, and 20H03311; the JSPS Core-to-Core Program: B Asia-Africa Science Platforms; the “Biological Properties of Biodiversity Hotspots in Japan” project of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tsukuba, Japan; and “Establishment of Glocal Research and Education Network in the Amami Islands” project of Kagoshima University adopted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.

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Koeda, K., Itou, M., Yamada, M. et al. Rhynchobatus mononoke, a new species of wedgefish (Rhinopristiformes: Rhinidae) from Japan, with comments on Rhynchobatus laevis (Bloch and Schneider 1801). Ichthyol Res 68, 223–238 (2021).

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  • Rhynchobatus australiae
  • Rhynchobatus djiddensis
  • Rhynchobatus laevis
  • Taxonomy
  • Endemic species
  • East China Sea
  • Rays