What is a Maugean Skate?
Yep, I had no idea either.
This little guy is special. The Maugean Skate who is endemic to two places in Tasmania is a very old animal. Scientists reckon he started skatin’ around what is now Tasmania during the Cretaceous period (after the dinosaurs but still a long time ago). Today this animal can only be found in the dark waters of Bathurst Harbour and Macquarie Harbour and very little is known about its species and behaviour. Below are a few photos I found in a journal article of its mouth and tail.
This skate dates back to when Tasmania was connected to other landmasses in the super continent of Gondwana and has two cousins that live in New Zealand and La Patagonia in South America. Interestingly, the habitats that the Maugean Skate inhabit are unlike any other in Australia. They are most similar to the fiords of La Patagonia and Southern New Zealand.
If you are in Tasmania you will begin to see the Maugean skate appearing in news stories covering the expansion of fish farms in the Macquarie Harbour. Very little is known about what affect the increased numbers of salmon and nutrients in the water will have on the Maugean Skate. You can read more about the expansion here and see the scientific journal article on this species here. If you have any more photos or facts about this species we would love to hear from you, leave us a comment below. And if you liked this story share it with your friends.