Maskrays, Neotrygon spp., are a group of Stingrays, Dasyatidae, found in the Indian Ocean and west Pacific. They get their name from a distinctive coloured marking around the eyes, which resembles a mask, but have a number of other distinctive features, including short tails with well developed dorsal fins, small mouths with enlarged cuspid teeth, and large pectoral fins with a single row of thorns along their dorsal midline.
In a paper published on the bioRxiv beta database on 25 July 2017, Philippe Borsa of Ecologie marine tropicale des océans Pacifique et Indien at the Institut de recherche pour le développement, describes a new species of Masked Ray from Guadalcanal Island, in the Solomon Archipelago.
The new species is named Neotrygon vali, where 'vali' means 'Stingray' in Gela, one of the languages spoken on Guadalcanal. The new species is described from a female specimen 295 mm in length obtained from the Plaza fish market in Honiara om Guadalcanal Island. It is distinguished from other Maskrays by the darkness of its eye marking and the pattern of blue spots on its dorsal surface, and confirmed as a new species by DNA analysis.
Guadalcanal Maskray Neotrygon vali showing the pigmentation patterns that differentiate it from Neotrygon kuhlii from Vanikoro. Borsa (2017).
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