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Kuhl's maskray

The meaning of «kuhl's maskray»

Kuhl's maskray (Neotrygon kuhlii), also known as the blue-spotted stingray, blue-spotted maskray, or Kuhl's stingray, is a species of stingray of the family Dasyatidae. It was recently changed from Dasyatis kuhlii in 2008 after morphological and molecular analyses showed that it is part of a distinct genus, Neotrygon.[2] The body is rhomboidal and colored green with blue spots. Maximum disk width is estimated 46.5 cm (18.3 in).[3] It is popular in aquaria, but usually not distinguished from the blue-spotted ribbontail ray. The ribbontail has a rounded body, is a brighter green with brighter blue and more vivid spots, but Kuhl's maskray is larger.[4] The stingray's lifespan is estimated at 13 years for females and 10 years for males.[5] The blue-spotted stingray preys on many fish and small mollusks. It is also generally found from Indonesia to Japan, and most of Australia. Kuhl's maskray also is targeted by many parasites, such as tapeworms, flatworms, and flukes.

Kuhl's maskray was discovered by Heinrich Kuhl in Java, Indonesia. The population size of this species is greatly debatable due to the five different species of rays in Indonesia. Also, two different subgroups are known, the Java and Bali forms.[6] The distinct difference between the two strains is their size, with the Bali being much larger than the Java.[7] On the familial level, the family Dasyatidae is made up of 9 genera and 70 species. The species in Neotrygon are called maskrays, because of the color pattern around their eyes.

Kuhl's maskrays have a flat, disc-like, rhomboid body up to 47 cm (19 in) in diameter and 70 cm (28 in) in total length.[7][8] Their coloring is a dark green with blue spots with a light white underbelly, also known as countershading. Their snouts are very short and broadly angular along with an angular disc.[7] The rays' bright coloration serves as a warning for their venomous spines. The rays have a very long tail accommodating two venomous spines on its base. Their tails are about twice as long as their bodies, and the barbs or spines are two different sizes, one being very large and the other medium in size. Kuhl's maskrays have bright yellow eyes that are positioned to allow them a wide angle of view. Since their gills are located ventrally, the spiracles allow water to reach the gills while resting or feeding on the benthos. The spiracles are located directly behind the eyes. The mouth is located on the ventral side of the body, which promotes the unique foraging technique of stingrays.[9] Rays are normally solitary individuals, but can occur in groups. One unique characteristic of Kuhl's maskrays is that they bury themselves in the sand only to hide from predators, unlike most stingrays, which bury themselves regularly to hunt.[9]

Kuhl's maskray feeds on shrimp, small bony fish, mollusks, crabs, and worms. Because this ray is a shallow-bottom feeder, it has a small variety of marine life on which to prey. It overpowers its prey by pinning it to the bottom of the seafloor with its fins. This ray has numerous tiny teeth, with the lower jaw being slightly convex. Like most stingrays, it has plate-like teeth to crush prey.

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