Honeycomb Whipray

Three Whiprays

It is no surprise that people often miss identify these three species of whipray, all of which can be found along the east coast of South Africa. Available information can be unclear and contradictory due to a lack of comprehensive research on the species.

The leopard (Himantura leoparda), honeycomb (Himantura undulate) and Reticulate (Himantura uarnak) whiprays are closely related and are similar in size, shape and colouration. This has led to much confusion and inconsistency in the scientific and Latin names as well as geographic distributions.

The simplest way to distinguish between the three species is using their patterns.

  • Reticulate whipray - many small dark spots on lighter background
  • Honeycomb whipray - has large, dark brown rings and reticulations delineated by yellow lines
  • Leopard whipray - unmistakable leopard pattern consisting of dark brown rings on a yellowish-brown background.

As with many animals it's easily to correctly identify them if you can see them together or have a photograph to reference. Hopefully this post will help you all with your ray identification skills.

Three Whiprays 3

Three Whiprays 1

Three Whiprays 2

Author: Emma Williams

Images: Sharklife

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