The scientists said they were able to describe leopard-skin whiprays in detail and demonstrate that they are isolated from each other in terms of reproduction. They were also able to discover a new species they call Himantura tutu, which is part of a genetic line totally distinct from the three other species that are known in the same group.
Himantura tutu was discovered by Institute of Development Research (IRD) researchers and their partners in Indonesia and Taiwan. This species was originally thought to have been associated with ocellated whiprays’ sister species.
The studies help assess the state of these whipray populations and improve their conservation. Having an understanding of the biological characteristics of each species will help redefine the minimum size for fishing purposes in order to avoid catching juveniles that belong to the larger species.