What is a Maugean Skate?

oceanplanet, July 25th 2013

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.


This is the skate’s tooth band and oronasal area.


“Denticles” found on the tail of the skate’s body


  • Luke

    2013-11-20 10:37:34
    This film is increadible!! It brings glaciers to life in a rather shocking way = stunning timelapse photography from fixed cameras shows the massive retreat of glaciers over 2 - 3 years. The film follows the leading man and his crew as they travel the world to deploy and retreive remote cameras. See trailer here: http://www.chasingice.com/
  • oceanplanet

    2013-11-10 21:11:07
    Dear Alice, thank you for raising the issue. We could not agree with you more. Ocean Planet did support the event however we did not organize the balloons and have already passed on grievances about the use of the balloons and asked that they not be used in the future.
  • Alice

    2013-10-29 12:09:31
    I completely support these people showing support for Antarctic environment but handing out balloons. Really? How much do they know about marine conservation and the harmful effects of plastics. Please in the future don't use balloons and read the following links about the damage they do to the environment. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/society-and-culture/lets-pop-the-helium-balloon-before-we-let-it-go-20111226-1pa00.html http://www.examiner.com/article/balloon-releases-are-detrimental-to-the-environment http://balloonsblow.org/impacts-on-wildlife-and-environment
  • Lynchpin – The Ocean Project – Art Science Collaboration | Stories from the Sea

    2013-03-28 17:05:04
    [...] Message from Ocean Planet: [...]
  • Bessie

    2013-02-22 08:20:59
    “Stories From The Sea | OceanplanetOceanplanet” was indeed in fact enjoyable and beneficial! In todays universe that’s hard to deliver. Thanks, Jarrod
  • Graham

    2012-12-06 10:49:11
    Hi. Does anyone know where I can obtain online the text of Dr Daniel Pauly's talk at the NSW Parliament on Tuesday 3 December 2012? G