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Himantura schmardae

Himantura schmardae (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Classis: Chondrichthyes
Subclassis: Elasmobranchii
Superordo: Rajomorphii
Ordo: Rajiformes
Superfamilia: Dasyatoidea
Familia: Dasyatidae
Genus: Himantura
Species: Himantura schmardae

Vernacular names
English: chupare stingray, Caribbean whiptail stingray

The chupare stingray or Caribbean whiptail stingray, Himantura schmardae, is a species of stingray in the family Dasyatidae, found in the western Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Campeche to Brazil, including the Antilles.[1] The presence of this species in the Gulf of Mexico has not been confirmed.[2] It also occurs in the Bahamas.[3] It usually inhabits sandy substrates, sometimes near coral reefs, and is an infrequent visitor to the Amazon River estuary. Leonard Compagno doubted the taxonomic validity of this species in his 1999 Checklist of Living Elasmobranchs.[4]

This is a large species with a maximum reported disk width of two meters (6.6 ft).[4] It has an oval pectoral fin disk with a long, broad-angled snout; the front margin of the disk is almost straight. The mouth is arched with indentations at the symphysis and five papillae on the floor. The teeth have elliptical bases and flattened cusps with a scallop-edged central depression. The upper jaw contains 28-36 rows of teeth. The tail is relatively short and slender, without fin folds but having subtle ventral and lateral ridges towards the base. There is a single saw-toothed spine located on the latter half of the tail. The upper surface of the body and tail are covered with small tubercles; there are large tubercles with four radiating ridges each on the shoulder region. The coloration is dark brown to olive above and yellowish white below, darkening to blackish towards the tip of the tail.[5]

The chupare stingray is believed to be the sister species of the Pacific chupare (H. pacifica), which is morphologically similar and shares the four-ridged shoulder tubercles. These two species are together known as the "amphi-American Himantura". Based on the details of the mandibular musculature and articulation, the amphi-American Himantura are hypothesized to be the closest relatives of the river stingrays in the family Potamotrygonidae, rather than to Indo-Pacific Himantura species.[6] This has given rise to the theory that both the amphi-American Himantura and the river stingrays are descended from euryhaline ancestors living along the northern coast of South America prior to the formation of the Isthmus of Panama. However, this interpretation is controversial, as parasitological evidence suggests that the river stingrays are most closely related to Pacific round rays in the genus Urobatis.[6]

This species is not common and almost nothing is known of its biology or habits.[1] It is reported to be ovoviviparous, like other stingrays.[4] Known parasites of this species include the nematode Echinocephalus daileyi and the cestode Anindobothrium anacolum.[7][8] The chupare stingray is taken as bycatch by artisanal and commercial fisheries using nets and hook-and-line, and also serves as a subsistence food source.[1] In addition to its meat, which is marketed salted, this species is also used to produce gelatin and oil.[4]


1. ^ a b c d Charvet-Almeida, P. and de Almeida, M.P. (2005). Himantura schmardae. In: IUCN 2005. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on March 24, 2009.
2. ^ Parsons, G.R. (2006). Sharks, Skates, and Rays of the Gulf of Mexico: a Field Guide. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 1578068274.
3. ^ Proceedings of The Academy of Natural Sciences (Vol. 143). Academy of Natural Sciences. 1991. ISBN 1437955428.
4. ^ a b c d Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2009). "Himantura schmardae" in FishBase. March 2009 version.
5. ^ McEachran, J.D. and Fechhelm, J.D. (1998). Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0292752067.
6. ^ a b Lovejoy, N.R. (1996). "Systematics of myliobatoid elasmobranchs: with emphasis on the phylogeny and historical biogeography of neotropical freshwater stingrays (Potamotrygonidae: Rajiformes)". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 117: 207–257.
7. ^ Deardorff, T.L., Brooks, D.R. and Thorson, T.B. (Jun. 1981). "A new species of Echinocephalus (Nematoda: Gnathostomidae) from neotropical stingrays with comments on E. diazi". The Journal of Parasitology 67 (3): 433–439.
8. ^ Marques, F.P.L., Brooks, D.R. and Lasso, C.A. (2001). "Anindobothrium N. Gen. (Eucestoda: Tetraphyllidea) Inhabiting Marine and Freshwater Potamotrygonid Stingrays". Journal of Parasitology 87 (3): 666–672.

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