Kapala Stingaree, Urolophus kapalensis Yearsley & Last 2006

A Kapala Stingaree, Urolophus kapalensis, in Nelson Bay, New South Wales. Source: Dave Harasti / http://www.daveharasti.com/. License: All rights reserved

A uniform greenish-brown stingaree with a dark mask-like pattern around the eyes, dark blotches above the bases of the pelvic fins, a pale caudal fin with a dark margin, a small dorsal fin, and tail folds. Juveniles have a dark caudal fin.
Care must be taken when encountering this species as the venomous serrated spine on the tail can inflict an excruciatingly painful injury. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Urolophus kapalensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 Jan 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/3544

Kapala Stingaree, Urolophus kapalensis Yearsley & Last 2006

More Info


Endemic to eastern Australia, from Moreton Bay, Queensland, to about Gabo Island, Victoria. Inhabits sandy and shelly areas, often near seagrass beds or adjacent to rocky reefs.


It reaches a maximum size of 52 cm total length (TL); male maturity is 31 cm TL; size at birth is ~15 cm TL; litter size is low (1 pup/litter) (Last and Stevens 2009, Kyne et al. 2016).


Male maturity is 31 cm TL; size at birth is ~15 cm TL; litter size is low (1 pup/litter). Stingarees are aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous) - the embryos emerge from eggs within the uterus and undergo further development until they are born. After emerging from their egg cases, the embryos are initially sustained by their yolk, and later by histotroph, a "uterine milk" produced by the mother. 


Commonly taken as bycatch in the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery (ECTF) and in the New South Wales Ocean Prawn Trawl Fishery. The species is infrequently taken as bycatch in the Commonwealth Trawl Sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF). It is of no commercial value and is discarded when caught.

Similar Species

The similar Banded Stingaree, Urolophus cruciatus, differs in having the dark stripe along the midline extending to the front of the eyes, while the dark stripe of the Kapala Stingaree only extends to behind the eyes.


The species is named for the FRV Kapala, of the N.S.W. Fisheries Research Institute, which collected the holotype, in honour of the “extremely valuable fish collections made by the vessel over almost three decades”.

Species Citation

Urolophus kapalensis Yearsley & Last, 2006, Zootaxa 1176: 42, figs 1-5.Type locality: Jervis Bay, 35°02'S, 150°45'E, New South Wales, Tasman Sea, Australia, depth 18-22 m.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Kapala Stingaree, Urolophus kapalensis Yearsley & Last 2006


Graham, K.J., Andrew, N.L. & Hodgson, K.E. 2001. Changes in the relative abundances of sharks and rays on Australian South East Fishery trawl grounds after twenty years of fishing. Marine and Freshwater Research 52: 549-561. (as Urolophus sp. A)

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Kyne, P.M. & Bennett, M.B. 2019. Urolophus kapalensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T42730A68649607. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T42730A68649607.en. Downloaded on 13 June 2021.

Kyne, P.M., Courtney, A.J., Jacobsen, I.P. & Bennett, M.B. 2016. Reproductive parameters of rhinobatid and urolophid batoids taken as by-catch in the Queensland (Australia) east coast otter-trawl fishery. Journal of Fish Biology 89: 1208–1226. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.13020

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

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

Last, P.R., Yearsley, G.K. & White, W.T. 2016. Family Urolophidae pp. 676-705. In: Last, P.R., White, W.T., de Carvalho, M.R., Séret, B., Stehmann, M.F.W. & & Naylor, G.J.P. (eds) Rays of the World. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing, 800 pp.

Walker, T.I. & Gason, A.S. 2007. Shark and other chondrichthyan byproduct and bycatch estimation in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. Final report to Fisheries and Research Development Corporation Project No. 2001/007. July 2007. vi + 182 pp. Primary Industries Research Victoria, Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia.

Yearsley, G.K. & Last, P.R. 2006. Urolophus kapalensis sp. nov., a new stingaree (Myliobatiformes: Urolophidae) off eastern Australia. Zootaxa 1176: 41-52 https://doi.org/10.11646/ZOOTAXA.1176.1.4

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37038018

Conservation:IUCN Near Threatened

Danger:Venomous spine on tail

Depth:9-130 m

Habitat:Sandy, shelly bottoms

Max Size:52 cm TL


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CAAB distribution map