The Gulf torpedo is a species of electric ray in the family Torpedinidae. It is found in the Indian Ocean, but may represent a species flock of several local endemic species. It is distinguishable from other Torpedo species in its range by its ornate dorsal coloration. The Gulf torpedo has a rounded pectoral fin disc, 84% as wide as long. The tail is short and stocky, bearing two small, subtriangular dorsal fins placed very close together, with the second three-quarters the size of the first. The pelvic fins are fleshy and partly fused to the disc, while the caudal fin is small and broadly rounded. The eyes are small; the spiracles are larger than the eyes in adults and bear 9-10 papillae on the rim. The skin is smooth. The mouth is wide and contains small, sharply cusped teeth. It measures up to 130 cm long, although most are less than 100 cm. The angling record from South Africa is 13 kg. This species has distinctive dorsal coloration, composed of a base brown color with strong, thick cream or white vermiculations over the disc, pelvic fins, and tail, with many cream-colored irregular spots, no larger than eye diameter, on the anterior and lateral disc regions. However, the coloration varies somewhat within the species. Some specimens have cream-colored brain-shaped figures or rosettes over the disc and tail, becoming smaller towards the disc margins, along with small spots laterally on the disc and the front of the snout.
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The Gulf torpedo is the most widespread of the electric rays in the western Indian Ocean, with a patchy range extending to South Africa, Somalia, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf, Sri Lanka, Maldives and the Andaman Sea. There are also less reliable reports of it occurring elsewhere, including Madagascar, the Seychelles, and the Laccadive Islands. It is found in shallow waters in sandy areas, on and near coral reefs, and offshore to a depth of 200 meters. It often buries itself in the sandy bottom of gullies and estuaries.
Found inshore in sandy bottoms, and well offshore from the surf zone down to 200 m. Also on or near coral reefs. Common in shallow sandy areas. Occurs singly but may form groups during the breeding season. Occasionally hooked by anglers, more often seen by divers; Can deliver a strong shock.
Feeds on bony fishes.
Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialised structures. Form aggregations during the reproductive season