Emirates – EAD has found a new species of jumping eagle in the waters of Abu Dhabi

ABU-DABI, April 26, 2022 (WAM) – The Environmental Protection Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD) has announced the discovery of a new species of eagle jumping in the waters of Abu Dhabi. The new species (Aetomylaeus wafickii) was identified from samples collected in the Persian Gulf during the Fisheries Assessment (FRAS), which was conducted in 2016.

Specimens were collected along with other specimens of elasmobranch and fish. At that time, the eagle beam was identified as the striped eagle (Aetomylaeus nichofii), very similar in appearance. However, it was later recognized as new after extensive review and publication of scientific work, which emphasizes its insightful physical description.

The newly described species can be distinguished from similar species – Aetomylaeus caeruleofasciatus and Aetomylaeus nichofii – more pale blue stripes on its dorsal surface (8-10 stripes), more rows of dental plates and a shorter tail. This description was published in the Marine Biodiversity Journal on February 11, 2022.

Ahmed Al Hashmi, Executive Director of Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity at EAD, said: “It is very exciting for us to discover a new species of jumping eagle in Abu Dhabi. It is clear that our waters are healthy and we have abundant marine biodiversity. I am convinced that we will be able to make even more discoveries in the future if we continue to use accurate scientific methodologies to build trust.

To ensure the longevity and sustainability of our species, we at EAD participate in large-scale rehabilitation programs so that our species can prosper for future generations and enjoy the scale and beauty of Abu Dhabi’s biodiversity.

Studies of fisheries in UAE waters collected many samples in the Persian Gulf, which were then studied and compared with other regional variants of the species. More than 600 fish were collected, as well as several spring gills. Collected and measured specimens were deposited in the collections of fish of the California Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) and the Smithsonian National Museum of the United States (USNM).

The family Batoidea (rays) is closely related to the family of sharks and includes rays, guitar fish and dust fish. There are more than 630 species of batoids. As in sharks, their skeleton consists entirely of cartilage, not bone. Batoids are usually flattened and are commonly referred to as “flat sharks”. Most batoids are bottom feeders, digging up shrimp and crustaceans from the ocean floor, which helps saturate oxygen deposits and maintain a healthy ecosystem.

Eagle rays are benthic and semi-pelagic rays with circulating distribution, where most species can be found near the shores. Their body size varies from medium to large (from 60 to more than 200 cm in width of the disk) with a wing-shaped frame. Eagle rays use their strong jaws and lamellar teeth to feed on mollusks, crustaceans, worms and small bony fish.

The Persian Gulf is characterized by an extremely volatile environment, the sea surface temperature (SST) exceeds 20˚C. In summer, SSTs reach over 36˚C in the shallow southern basin and a minimum of 12˚C in winter. The Persian Gulf also shows extreme salinity due to its high evaporation rate.

Translation: Gihane Fauzi.



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