New Himantura stingray named

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A new species of stingray from the Himantura genus has been described from Irian Jaya in Indonesia.

Himantura horleti, which is a member of the family Dasyatidae, was discovered in marine and brackish water estuarine habitats in Arafura Sea off Irian Jaya and has just been described in a paper by Peter Last, Patricia Kailola and Mabel Manjaji-Matsumoto in the journal Zootaxa.

The species is said to be moderately large for a Himantura, with a disc size of around 70cm/27" and a total length of 2.4m/7.9' including the long tail. It is one of 17 Himantura species found in the area, which is a biodiversity hotspot for members of the dasyatid family.

The authors state that H. horleti can be distinguished from others in the genus by its narrower, heart-shaped disc with a very long angular snout, very small eyes, yellow underside and non-protrusible mouth.

The tropical fish is believed to be a member of the uarnacoides species complex and is named in honour of the biological consultant Kent Hortle who discovered the new ray in 1997 off the southern coast of Irian Jaya.

The Himantura genus contains more than 26 species, which occur mainly in the Indo Pacific area. The Cambodian whipray, Himantura oxyrhyncha, a freshwater species, is sometimes imported for the aquarium trade along with other similar-looking species.

For more details on the new stingray species see the paper: Last P, Manjaji-Matsumoto M and P Kailola (2006) - Himantura horleti n. sp., a new species of whipray (Myliobatiformes: Dasyatidae) from Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Zootaxa 1239: 19-34 (2006).