Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 1085–1096 | Cite as

Re-description of the longtail butterfly ray, Gymnura poecilura (Shaw, 1804) (Gymnuridae: Myliobatiformes) from Bay of Bengal with a neotype designation

  • M. MukthaEmail author
  • K. V. Akhilesh
  • S. Sandhya
  • F. Jasmin
  • M. A. Jishnudev
  • Shoba Joe Kizhakudan
Original Paper


The longtail butterfly ray, Gymnura poecilura, was originally described as Raja poecilura by Shaw 1804 without any type material, based on Russell’s (1803) illustration of Tenkee kunsul” from Vizagapatam (present day Visakhapatnam), India. Because of the absence of detailed taxonomic accounts for G. poecilura, characters mentioned for its identification are often misleading and unreliable, leading to frequent misidentification of the species with congeners in the region. In the absence of type specimens or detailed taxonomic work on the genus Gymnura from the Indian Ocean region, species G. poecilura is considered to be undefined. In an effort to clear up the taxonomic vagueness of the species, this article re-describes G. poecilura from fresh materials, designates a neotype from Visakhapatnam, India (western Bay of Bengal) and also reports the presence of a distinct Gymnura species from the northern Arabian Sea with genetic support. Reports of two butterfly rays, G. japonica and G. micrura, from Indian waters are clarified as misidentifications and so must be excluded from the Indian elasmobranch faunal list.


Taxonomy Redescription Gymnuridae Gymnura poecilura Indian Ocean Butterfly ray Elasmobranchs 



The authors acknowledge the support and encouragement of A Gopalakrishnan, Director, CMFRI and P U Zacharia, Head of Division, Demersal Fisheries Division, CMFRI. The first author is grateful to Shubhadeep Ghosh, Scientist-in-Charge, VRC of CMFRI, Visakhapatnam for support. Support by Mohamed Koya, Scientist-in-Charge, VRC of CMFRI, Veraval for AKV during surveys in Gujarat is acknowledged. Support and clarification of Gymnuridae barcode sample collection localities by Bineesh K.K (NBFGR, Kochi) is much appreciated. Help provided by P Bhaskar Rao, P Venkatesh, Thakurdas, Murali Mohan and V Venkateswarlu for lab and field work is also acknowledged. Authors are grateful to University of Washington Libraries and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Library for their support. The authors thank the Biodiversity Heritage Library and Catalogue of Fishes for access to publications and database. We thank anonymous reviewers whose suggestions improved the manuscript This work was carried out under CMFRI research project DEM/ELAS/5.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Muktha
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. V. Akhilesh
    • 1
  • S. Sandhya
    • 1
  • F. Jasmin
    • 1
  • M. A. Jishnudev
    • 1
  • Shoba Joe Kizhakudan
    • 1
  1. 1.ICAR–Central Marine Fisheries Research InstituteKochiIndia

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