Brown Whipray, Maculabatis toshi Whitley 1939

Other Names: Blackspotted Whipray, Toshs Longtail Ray

A Brown Whipray, Maculabatis toshi. Source: CSIRO National Fish Collection. License: CC BY Attribution

A brown to greenish-brown medium-sized whipray often with many small, faint white spots and flecks, and a uniformly white underside, sometimes with a dusky margin. Juveniles lack the white spots and may have dark spots near the rear of the disc, and a dark tail with bands beyond the sting. 
This species was previously known as Himantura toshi.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Maculabatis toshi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Apr 2024,

Brown Whipray, Maculabatis toshi Whitley 1939

More Info


From Darwin, Northern Territory, to the Clarence River, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in southern Papua New Guinea.
Inhabits shallow coastal sandy and muddy areas in estuaries and mangrove flats. 


Tail long, whip-like, without skin folds; base of tail circular in cross-section, not depressed; disc broad and rhombic; snout relatively short and broadly triangular; denticle band on disc well developed in adults; tail with 1-2 venomous spines.


Feeds mostly on prawns and crabs, and also consumes small bony fishes.


The species is aplacental viviparous, with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialised structures.
Males mature at ~50 cm DW (disc width), and the young are born at ~14 cm DW.


May be taken as bycatch in commercial trawls.

Similar Species

This species has been confused with the closely related Blackspotted Whipray, Maculabatis astra. Most early records of M. toshi are based on misidentified M. astra
The Blackspotted Whipray is densely covered in small black spots surrounded by smaller pale spots or rings, and has alternating pale and dark saddles on the tail beyond the caudal spine in juveniles.

Species Citation

Himantura toshi Whitley. 1939, Australian Zoologist 9(3): 258. Type locality: Clarence River Estuary, New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Brown Whipray, Maculabatis toshi Whitley 1939


Dulvy, N.K. & Reynolds, J.D. 1997. Evolutionary transitions among egg-laying, live-bearing and maternal inputs in sharks and rays. Proceedings of the Royal Society London, Series B, Biological Sciences 264: 1309-1315.

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) (as Himantura toshi)

Kyne, P.M. 2010. Chondrichthyans and the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery: Bycatch reduction, biology, conservation status and sustainability. PhD thesis, University of Queensland, Brisbane, 361 pp. (as Himantura toshi)

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 (as Himantura toshi)

Last, P.R. & Compagno, L.J.V. 1999. Family Dasyatidae. pp. 1479-1505 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 Himatura sp. A)

Last, P.R., Manjaji-Matsumoto, B.M., Naylor, G.J.P. & White, W.T. 2016. Dasyatidae. pp. 522-618 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., Naylor, G.J.P. & Manjaji-Matsumoto, B.M. 2016. A revised classification of the family Dasyatidae (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatiformes) based on new morphological and molecular insights. Zootaxa 4139(3): 345–368. DOI:

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

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

Pierce, S.J., Scott-Holland, T.B. & Bennett, M.B. 2011. Community composition of elasmobranch fishes utilizing intertidal sand flats in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Pacific Science 65: 235-247.

Rigby, C. & Pierce, S.J. 2016. Maculabatis toshi . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T161505A104194858. Downloaded on 24 February 2020.

Stobutzki, I.C., Miller, M.J., Heales, D.S. & Brewer, D.T. 2002. Sustainability of elasmobranches caught as bycatch in a tropical prawn (shrimp) trawl fishery. Fishery Bulletin 100: 800-821.

White, W.T., Baje, L., Sabub, B., Appleyard, S.A., Pogonoski, J.J. & Mana, R.R. 2017. Sharks and Rays of Papua New Guinea. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Monograph Series 189: 1-327 

Whitley, G.P. 1939. Taxonomic notes on sharks and rays. The Australian Zoologist 9(3): 227-262 figs 1-18 pls 20-22 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 Himantura toshi in part)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37035020

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:Venomous spine

Depth:0-41 m

Habitat:Estuaries, mangroves

Max Size:170 Cm TL; 82 cm DW

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map