Ornate Numbfish, Narcinops ornata Carvalho 2008

Ornate Numbfish, Narcine ornata. Source: CSIRO National Fish Collection. License: CC BY Attribution

A distinctive numbfish with an elaborate dorsal pattern of large and medium-sized dark brown spots that are variously fused and elongated to appear as stripes, and surrounded by smaller spots on most of the dorsal surface including the snout and tail regions.
This species was previously known as Narcine ornata.

Cite this page as:
Hicks, T. & Bray, D.J. 2017, Narcinops ornata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 May 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2643

Ornate Numbfish, Narcinops ornata Carvalho 2008

More Info


Endemic to northern Australia from Londonberry, Western Australia, to western Cape York, Queensland, at depths of 50-130 metres.


To about 24 cm total length. 


Upper surface covered in dark brownish pink spots; some spots joined together to make longitudinal stripes on mid-disc; spiracular membrane covered in small dark spots. Ventral surface white.


Feeds on small invertebrates including worms on the bottom.

Similar Species

Previously confused with the Banded Numbfish (Narcine westraliensis), which occurs further south in Western Australia.

Species Citation

Narcine ornata Carvalho 2008, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper No. 022: 242. Type locality: Gulf of Carpentaria, 12°58′ S, 139°10′ E, 56 m, FRV Southern Surveyor, SS 7/93/21.


Hicks, T. & Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Ornate Numbfish, Narcinops ornata Carvalho 2008


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. (as Narcine sp.)

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. (misidentified in part as Narcine ornata - illustration p. 26)

Carvalho, M.R. de 2008. New species of numbfishes from Australia, with a key to Australian electric rays of the genus Narcine Henle, 1834 (Chondrichthyes: Torpediniformes: Narcinidae). pp. 241-260 in Last, P.R., White, W.T. & Pogonoski, J.J. (eds). Descriptions of new Australian chondrichthyans. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper No. 022: 1-358 (as Narcine ornata) Ref. available online, open access

Carvalho, M.R. de, Compagno, L.J.V. & Last, P.R. 1999. Family Narcinidae. pp. 1433-1446 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068. (as Narcine sp. A) 

Carvalho, M.R. de & Last, P.R. 2016. Family Narcinidae pp. 137-169. 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.
Last, P.R & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and rays of Australia.Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing Australia

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. (NT & north WA specimens misidentified as as Narcine westraliensis

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

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37028007

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:Electric ray

Depth:50-130 m

Max Size:24 cm TL


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CAAB distribution map