Eastern Shovelnose Ray – Profile | Facts | Traits | Habitat

shovelnose ray
(Last Updated On: April 13, 2021)

Eastern shovelnose ray is localized in coastal and temperate waters off the east coast of Australia, from Halifax Bay (Queensland) to Marimbula (New South Wales). Eastern shovelnose ray, scientific name Opticotrema rostrat is a grayish-brown color ray adorned with dark spots on its surface.

Eastern Shovelnose Ray Profile

Eastern shovelnose ray usually lives on the continental shelf, with sandflats, mudflats, and seagrass beds at a depth of about 100 meters in the bay, coast, river mouth, rocky rocks, and surf zone. The species grows up to 1.2 m in length.

Using microspectrophotometry, three distinctly distinct conical visual pigments and rods at the peak of 498 nm were observed with a wavelength of maximum wavelengths of 459, 492, and 553 nm in this species.

This suggests that this species may have a color spectrum – perhaps trichromatic. The giant chevalonose ray (Rhinobatos typus) had three distinct cones of a similar nature and has been shown to be able to discriminate color when tested behaviorally.

The feather-shaped disc of the Eastern Shovelnose ray can be recognized by its long triangular snout and its color. It is usually sandy on top and may have dark spots. The bottom surface is white with an irregular dark pane.

Eastern Shovelnose Ray

Eastern shovelnose ray Description

A medium-sized ray with a long flattened triangular snout, a wedge-shaped disc, and a long shark-like tail. Body general sandy to brownish above, typically with darker blotches; pale under with darker flecks and a darkish snout.

Like another ray, the Eastern Shovelnose Ray has sexually dimorphic dentition. Mature males develop elongate cusps on their anterior teeth permitting them to grip onto the fin of a feminine throughout copulation.

The eastern shovelnose ray is endemic to subtropical and temperate waters of Australia’s east coast, from off Halifax Bay (Queensland) to Merimbula (New South Wales). It sometimes lives on the continental shelf, inhabiting sandflats, mudflats, and seagrass beds in bays, estuaries, river mouths, round rocky reefs, and in surf zones to depths of about 100 m.

Using microspectrophotometry, this species was proven to have three spectrally distinct cone visible pigments with wavelengths of most absorbance of 459, 492, and 553 nm, and rods peaking at 498 nm. This suggests this species might have a coloration vision – maybe trichromatic. The large shovelnose ray (Rhinobatos typus’) additionally had three totally different cone varieties of the same nature and was discovered to have the ability to discriminate coloration when behaviourally examined.

It is used as seafood.


East Shovelnose ray occurs locally in Australia, from southern Queensland to southern New South Wales

The map below shows the Australian distribution of species based on public visits and specimens in Australian museums. Click on the map for details.

Eastern shovelnose ray Habitat

It is generally seen at the sandy sand level at the estuaries and off the beach but it is also seen at a depth of 50 meters.


Its diet includes fish and molluscs, along with penoid shrimp, carriage shrimp, stomatopods, crabs and other crustaceans.

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