Tasmanian Numbfish, Narcinops tasmaniensis (Richardson 1841)

Other Names: Electric Ray, Electric Torpedo, Ground Shark, Little Numbfish, Numbfish

A Tasmanian Numbfish, Narcinops tasmaniensis, at Tranmere, Derwent River, Tasmania, depth 10 m. Source: William T. White. License: All rights reserved

A chocolate-brown numbfish, with paler brown fins, and a white underside, sometimes with a few dark blotches. 

Cite this page as:
Hicks, T. & Bray, D.J. 2022, Narcinops tasmaniensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3280

Tasmanian Numbfish, Narcinops tasmaniensis (Richardson 1841)

More Info


Off the Solitary Islands, New South Wales, to Partridge Island, Tasmania, and west to Eyre, Western Australia. Off Tasmania, the species occurs to the continental shelf at depths rarely exceeding 100 m. Further north, the Tasmanian Numbfish inhabits the continental slope usually at depths of 200-640 m.


Body depressed; subcircular disc with a broadly rounded apex with concave margins, widest close to point of pectoral fin insertion. Medium sized eye. Skin smooth, frequently creased, lacking denticles or thorns. Tail tapering gradually, about 1.25 times precloacal length. First and second dorsal fin upright, about equal in size. Caudal fin broadly rounded. Pelvic fins narrow and broad.


Length is 9-12 cm at birth. Can reach at least 47 cm total length. Males reach maturity at approximately 20 cm, females approximately 21 cm.


Chocolate brown upper surface, fins paler brown. Ventral surface white, sometimes with a few dark blotches. Juveniles frequently have blotches on dorsal surface of disc and at base of dorsal fin, and a dark median stripe.


Gives birth to live young, litters range in size from 1 to 8 pups.
This species produces a much less powerful shock compared with coffin and torpedo rays.


The species is named tasmaniensis for the type locality in Tasmania.

Species Citation

Narcine tasmaniensis Richardson 1841, Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1841 (9): 22. Type locality: Port Arthur, Tasmania.


Hicks, T. & Bray, D.J. 2022


Tasmanian Numbfish, Narcinops tasmaniensis (Richardson 1841)


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 tasmaniensisSee ref online

Carvalho, M.R. de & Last, P.R. 2016. 15. Numbfishes. Family Narcinidae. pp. 137-169 in Last, P.R., White, W.T., Carvalho, M.R. de, Séret, B., Stehmann, M.F.W. & Naylor, G.J.P. (eds.) Rays of the World. Clayton South, Victoria : CSIRO Publishing 790 pp.

Fowler, H.W. 1941. Contributions to the biology of the Philippine Archipelago and adjacent regions. The fishes of the groups Elasmobranchii, Holocephali, Isospondyli and Ostariophysi obtained by the United States Bureau of Fisheries Steamer Albatross in 1907 to 1910, chiefly in the Philippine Islands and adjacent seas. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 100(13): 1-879 figs 1-30 (as Narcine tasmaniensis)

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. (as Narcine tasmaniensis)

Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. (as Narcine tasmaniensis)

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

Kyne, P.M. & Treloar, M.A. 2015. Narcine tasmaniensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T161628A68635314. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T161628A68635314.en. Downloaded on 30 July 2019.

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

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

Richardson, J. 1840. On some new species of fishes from Australia. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 8: 25-30  [nom. nud.; as Narcine tasmaniensis].

Richardson, J. 1841. On some new or little known fishes from Australian seas. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 9: 21-22 See ref at BHL

Richardson, J. 1844. Description of Australian Fish. (Part 2). Transactions of the Zoological Society of London 3(art. 5, pt. 2): 133-185, Pls. 7-11. See ref at BHL

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. (as Narcine tasmaniensis)

Yick, J.L., Tracey, S.R. & White, R.W.G. 2011. Niche overlap and trophic resource partitioning of two sympatric batoids co‐inhabiting an estuarine system in southeast Australia. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 27(5): 1272-1277 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0426.2011.01819.x (as Narcine tasmaniensis)  

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37028002

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:Electric ray

Depth:to 640 m

Habitat:Sandy, muddy areas

Max Size:47 cm TL

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