Southern Fiddler Ray Trygonorrhina fasciata
The Southern Fiddler Ray is a guitarfish that prefers to spend it's time on the sandy, shallow bottom of the sea. It is also known as the banjo shark and the fiddler ray. This species of ray can be found exclusively along the southern coast of Australia. As mentioned previously, they prefer shallow waters, but can be found in waters as deep as over 500 feet.
Like many other species of ray, the choice of food for this species consists largely of shellfish and crustaceans. The Southern Fiddler Ray can grow to be around 4 feet in length and weigh around 15 pounds when full grown. This ray gives live birth to 4 to 6 pups per breeding season. The gestation period of this species is one year (12 months). Interestingly enough the baby rays rapidly develop over the final few months of gestation.
These rays pose no threat to humans and they are of little commercial interest. That being said, the meat of these rays apparently taste pretty good so there is a small demand for it. The fiddler ray is a popular ray in aquariums around the world. They adapt to life in captivity very well. They are known to quickly pick up on target feeding and will still bury themselves in the sand of their exhibits as they would do in the wild.
When it comes to conservation, the Southern Fiddler Ray is currently listed as a species of "least concern". This means that the populations do not reach the criteria for being threatened, vulnerable, or endangered. While there are no protections for this species of ray, it does make it's home in some marine sanctuaries and protected zones. The fiddler ray is abundant throughout its range.
Thank you for reading the first of my Species Focus blogs!