Southern Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina dumerilii (Castelnau 1873)

Other Names: Banjo Ray, Banjo Shark, Dumeril's Shovelnose-ray, Fiddler, Fiddler Ray, Green Skate, Magpie Fiddler Ray, Magpie Ray, Paritt, Parrit, Southern Fiddler

A Southern Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina dumerilii, in Port Phillip, Victoria. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved


A yellowish-brown shark-like ray with dark-edged greyish bands radiating from the eyes and on either sides of back, and no distinct triangular or diamond-shaped marking behind eyes. Some individuals in the Gulf St Vincent, South Australia, and in Port Phillip, Victoria, have a mottled dark-brown to black and white colour pattern. The Southern Fiddler Ray is often forages on sandflats and in seagrass beds.

  • Video of a Southern Fiddler Ray in Pirates Bay on the Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia.

  • Cite this page as:
    Dianne J. Bray, Trygonorrhina dumerilii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 Mar 2017,

    Southern Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina dumerilii (Castelnau 1873)

    More Info


    Widespread in southern Australia, from about 90 Mile Beach, Victoria in eastern Bass Strait and around Tasmania, to about Lancelin, Western Australia.

    The Southern Fiddler Ray inhabits sandy areas and seagrass beds, in depths to 120 m. The species is common in coastal waters throughout much of its range, and occasionally enters estuaries.


    Body flattened with an oval to diamond-shaped disc; snout short, broadly triangular; a row of large thorn-like denticles along middle of disc to first dorsal fin; tail long, broad with two dorsal fins of similar size, upper tail lobe well-developed, lower lobe short. Jaws with numerous small blunt crushing teeth.


    Maximum total length 150 cm TL, and a weight of 6-7 kg. The pups are born at 21-25 cm Females mature at about 90 cm, whereas males mature at about 70 cm.


    Upper surface yellowish to brown with borad dark-edged greyish bands radiating from eyes and on either sides of middle of back, no postorbital diamond-shaped pattern on head; underside pale.


    Carnivore - feeds on crustaceans (crabs, shrimps), small fishes, molluscs and polychaete worms. Hard-shelled prey such as crabs and molluscs are crushed with their powerful jaws filled with small, blunt teeth.

    Small juveniles feed mostly on small crustaceans, including amphipods, isopods and mysid shrimps.


    Like all sharks, rays and chimaeras, the sexes are separate and fertilisation is external. Females give birth to fewer than six pups in the Autumn months after a 12 month gestation period. 

    Guitarfishes are aplacental viviparous, with the young developing inside eggs and hatching before birth. The young are usually born in autumn.


    Taken as bycatch in the Great Australian Bight trawl fishery. Southern fiddler rays are also caught in southeastern Australia in the Danish seine, and shark hook and net fisheries. Southern fiddler rays are of minor commercial importance and are marketed as guitarfish.


    IUCN Red List: Least concern


    Trygonorrhina dumerilii has previously been confused with and misidentified as Trygonorrhina fasciata. T. dumerilii occurs only in southern Australia, whereas T. fasciata occurs on the east coast from about Fraser Island to eastern Bass Strait.

    Genetic studies have shown that Trygonorrhina melaleuca Scott, 1954, is a junior synonym of  T. dumerilii.

    Similar Species

    Trygonorrhina fasciata, which occurs on the east coast north of Eden (NSW), differs in having a dark bar connecting the eyes, and a triangular or diamond-shaped marking on the head behind the eyes.

    Species Citation

    Rhinobatus dumerilii Castelnau, 1873, Proc. Zool. Acclim. Soc. Vict. 2: 148. Type locality: Western Australia.


    Dianne J. Bray

    Southern Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina dumerilii (Castelnau 1873)


    Castelnau, F.L. de 1873. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 8. Fishes of Western Australia. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 2: 123-149.

    Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

    Donnellan, S.C., R. Foster, C. Junge, C. Huveneers, P. Rogers, A. Kilian & T. Bertozzi. 2015. Fiddling with the proof: the Magpie Fiddler Ray is a colour pattern variant of the common Southern Fiddler Ray (Rhinobatidae: Trygonorrhina). Zootaxa 3981(3): 367–384. Abstract

    Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Torpedinidae to Rhinobatidae. pp. 101-107 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. (106, as Trygonorrhina fasciata)

    Izzo, C. 2011. Examination of the dermal denticles of the rhinobatid Trygonorrhina dumerilii. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 135: 62-65.

    Izzo, C. & Gillanders, B. 2008. Initial assessment of age, growth and reproductive parameters of the southern fiddler ray Trygonorrhina fasciata (Müller & Henle, 1841) from South Australia. Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences 3: 321-327.

    Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (17, as Trygonorrhina guanerius)

    Last, P.R. 1994. Families Torpedinidae, Rajiidae, Rhinobatidae. pp. 154-172 figs 132-149 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs [170] (as Trygonorrhina guanerius)

    Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls (292, as Trygonorrhina fasciata)

    Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia Edn 2, 550 pp. [313]

    May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

    Munro, I.S.R. 1961. Handbook of Australian fishes. Nos 1–42. Australian Fisheries Newsletter 15–17, 19, 20: 1-172 [published as separates 1956–1961] [15] (104 as Trygonorhina fasciata, in part, 105 as T. guanerius and 100 as Rhinobatos dumerilii)

    Stead, D.G. 1963. Sharks and Rays of Australian Seas. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 211 pp. 63 figs (143, as Trygonorrhina fasciata, in part, southern distribution only)

    Whitley, G.P. 1932. Studies in Ichthyology No. 6. Records of the Australian Museum 18(6): 321-348 figs 1-3 pls 36-39 (327, as Trygonorrhina fasciata guanerius)

    Whitley, G.P. 1940. The Fishes of Australia. Part 1. The sharks, rays, devil-fish, and other primitive fishes of Australia and New Zealand. Sydney : Roy. Zool. Soc. N.S.W. 280 pp. 303 figs (174, as Trygonorrhina fasciata guanerius)

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37027011

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Depth:0-120 m

    Fishing:Minor commercial

    Habitat:Sand flats, seagrass beds

    Max Size:150 cm TL


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