All spearos and divers in northern Australia are asked to look out for this type of ray this summer (picture by John Thorsborne): the porcupine or thornback ray, or the ‘Urogymnus asperrimus’ in its Latin name. You can even win major prizes if you spot one, take a photo of it and report it!Why do you need to look out for the porcupine ray? Because little is known about this particular species and it is vulnerable to extinction. A young researcher wants to change this. His name is Andrew Chin and he is a marine biologist working with sharks out a James Cook University. He is particularly interested in this very distinctive and recognisable ray we have in northern Australia. Andrew tells us: “We know almost nothing about it in our waters: its behaviour, its habitat, its diet... However, I’m sure that the diving and spearfishing community can help us fill in some of the gaps!”
WANTED Over this summer, Andrew is putting out an ‘alert’ for divers in northern Australia to keep their eyes open and to report their sightings of this species. He made a FLYER (PDF) that will function a much like a ‘Wanted Alive’ poster: with the description of the porcupine ray and a reward for those who spot it.
This alert will be distributed through the “Eye on the Reef” network in the Great Barrier Reef which is run by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and includes the dive crews of over 40 tourism operators on the reef. Besides here on the Adreno Spearfishing Supplies blog, the flyer will also be published in SportDiving Magazine and DiveLog, to reach as many divers as possible divers.
GREAT PRIZES Not alone are you given the chance to contribute to science, and hopefully a better understanding of this ray, you can also win great prizes:
- 1-year subscription to SportDiving Magazine
- A $200 gift voucher from Adreno Spearfishing Supplies
- A “Predator Ecology Research” T-shirt
To be eligible for the prize draw, the following conditions apply. 1) One entry per participant; 2) photos must be clear with the animal easily identifiable; 3) photos must be of wild animals in Australian waters; 4) at least two photos of the same individual from different angles must be submitted; 5) ‘observation details’ must be included with the entry; 6) the prize winner will be selected by random draw from all eligible entries; 7) the judges’ decision about entry eligibility and the winner is final.
Prizes will be drawn on 1st June 2012, by one of the tourism operator folks up in Cairns and Port Douglas. So get your sighting and photos of it, int time to Andrew !
Please download and distribute this FLYER to all Scuba Divers you know and maybe print it and hang it up in local dive centers. if you have the chance.