Eastern Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina fasciata Castelnau 1873

Other Names: Banjo Shark, Eastern Fiddler Ray

Eastern Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina fasciata. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A large brownish to greyish shovelnose ray with an almost oval-shaped disc and a broadly rounded snout. The Eastern Fiddler Ray is easily identified by the pattern of broad lilac-coloured dark-edged bands including a triangular or diamond-shaped marking on the head just behind the eyes. 

Video of A male Eastern Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina fasciata, at Shark Point, Sydney.

Video of an Eastern Fiddler Ray at Bawley Point, New South Wales.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Trygonorrhina fasciata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3378

Eastern Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina fasciata Castelnau 1873

More Info


Endemic to eastern Australia from southern Queensland, to about Twofold Bay, southern New South Wales. Occurs mostly on inshore sandy areas and on the inner continental shelf in depths to about 100 m.


Disc suboval, slightly longer than wide; snout short & broadly rounded; ridges of sharp thorn-like denticles on shoulders and midline of disc; tail 1.3-1.4 times longer than disc in adults; dorsal fins large, widely-spaced.


Grows to about 120 cm TL, although individuals rarely exceed 110 cm.


Brownish with or without blotches, and an ornate pattern of lilac bands (with darker margins) including a distinctive triangular or diamond-shaped marking just behind the eyes; underside whitish.


Carnivore - feeds mostly on crabs and shrimps.


Fiddler rays have internal fertilisation and are aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous) - meaning that the embryos develop inside eggs and hatch within the uterus of the mother before birth. Females produce litters of 2-3 pups, which are born at a length of about 25 cm TL.


Taken as bycatch in commercial trawls, and marketed as guitarfish.


IUCN: Least Concern


Similar Species

The similar Southern Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina dumerilii, lacks the  triangular marking on the head behind the eyes.


Species Citation

Trygonorrhina fasciata Müller & Henle 1841, Systematische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen: 124. Type locality: Type locality: New Holland (= Australia)


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Eastern Fiddler Ray, Trygonorrhina fasciata Castelnau 1873


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

Donnellan, S.C., Foster, R., Junge, C., Huveneers, C., Rogers, P., Kilian, A. & Bertozzi, T. 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, http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3981.3.3

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.    

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)    

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

Last, P.R. & Séret, B. 2016. 12. Banjo Rays. Family Trygonorrhinidae, pp 117-126; 13. Fanrays. Family Platyrhinidae, pp 127-133.  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.  

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls (p. 294, as Trygonorrhina sp. A)    

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

Macbeth, W.G., Vandenberg, M. & Graham, K.J. 2008. Identifying Sharks and Rays; a Guide for Commercial Fishers. Sydney : New South Wales Department of Primary Industry 71 pp. (p. 66, as Trygonorrhina sp. A)    

Marshall, L.J., White, W.T. & Potter, I.C. 2007. Reproductive biology and diet of the southern fiddler ray, Trygonorrhina fasciata (Batoidea: Rhinobatidae), an important trawl bycatch species. Marine and Freshwater Research 58: 104-115   

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.  

Müller, J. & Henle, F.G.J. 1841. Systematische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen. Berlin : Veit & Co. pp. 103-200 pls See ref at BHL

Reardon, B.M. 2003. Southern Fiddler Ray Trygonorrhina fasciata Müller and Henle, 1841. Pp 137-138. In: Cavanagh, R.D., Kyne, P.M., Fowler, S.L., Musick, J.A. & Bennet, M.B. (eds). The Conservation Status of Australian Chondrichthyans: Report of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group Australia and Oceania Regional Red List Workshop. Brisbane, Australia: The University of Queensland, School of Biomedical Sciences.  

Reis, M. & Figueira, W.F. 2020. Diet and feeding habits of two endemic demersal bycatch elasmobranchs: Trygonorrhina fasciata & Dentiraja australis. Ichthyological Research 67: 320–329, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-019-00724-7

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37027006

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-150 m

Fishing:Commercial species

Max Size:120 cm TL


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