Species Details

Details of Blotched Fantail Ray will be displayed below

Blotched Fantail R...   

Common Name: Blotched Fantail Ray, Round ribbontail ray, Black-blotched Stingray, Black-spotted Stingray, Fantail Stingray, Giant Reef Ray, Round Ribbontail Ray, Speckled Stingray
Scientific Name: Taeniurops meyeni
Local Name: Naunagoo madi
Dhivehi Name: ނަރުނަގޫ މަޑި
Animalia  (Kingdom)
Chordata  (Plylum)
Dasyatidae  (Family)
Taeniura   (Genus)

Blotched Fantail Ray's description

Blotched Fantail Ray has a thick pectoral fin disc wider than it is long, with a smoothly rounded outer margin. The eyes are of medium size and are followed by larger spiracles. There is a short and broad curtain of skin between the oval nostrils, with a finely fringed trailing margin. The mouth is wide and curved, with faint furrows at the corners. There is a row of seven papillae on the floor, with the outermost pair smaller and set apart from the others. There are 37–46 tooth rows in the upper jaw and 39–45 tooth rows in the lower jaw. The teeth are small with a deep groove across the crown, and are arranged in a dense quincunx pattern into flattened surfaces. 

The pelvic fins are small and narrow. The tail is relatively short, not exceeding the width of the disc, and bears one (rarely two) long, serrated stinging spine on the upper surface. The base of the tail is broad; past the spine the tail rapidly thins, and bears a deep ventral fin fold that runs to the tail tip. The upper surface of the disc and tail are roughened by a uniform covering of small, widely spaced granules. There is also a midline row of sharp tubercles on the back, with two shorter rows alongside. The first of these tubercles develop at a length of around 46 cm (18 in), over the "shoulders" and in the single midline row. The dorsal coloration is light to dark gray, brown-gray, or purplish, becoming most intense towards the fin margins, with a highly variable pattern of irregular darker mottling and white speckles or streaks. The tail past the spine, including the fin fold, is uniformly black, while the underside is creamy white with darker fin margins and additional dots. Young rays are more plain in coloration than adults.

Blotched Fantail Ray's facts

Did you know?

  • Blotched Fantail Ray is one of the largest stingray species, the round ribbontail ray can grow to 1.8 m (5.9 ft) across, 3.3 m (11 ft) long, and 150 kg (330 lb) in weight.

Blotched Fantail Ray habitat

The Blotched Fantail Ray is benthic around coral reef habitats and on sand substrates, from the surf zone offshore to 439 m depth (Compagno et al. 1989, Last and Compagno 1999). It reaches a maximum size of 180 cm disc width (DW) (Last and Stevens 2009). Males mature at 100-110 cm DW (W. White, unpubl. data); size at birth is 30-35 cm DW (Last and Stevens 2009). It is a viviparous species, with reported litter size of up to seven young (Compagno et al. 1989). Age data are not available, but generation length can be estimated using data from another large dasyatid, the Brown Stingray (Dasyatis lata), females of which mature at 15 years and reach 28 years (Dale and Holland 2012), giving an estimated generation length of 21.5 years.

Blotched Fantail Ray threats

The Blotched Fantail Ray is caught by line gear and trawl throughout its range. Throughout Southeast Asia there is significant fishing pressure on large batoids, and whether targeted or taken as bycatch, all are landed and utilized. For example, in Indonesia (see White and Dharmadi 2007) the Blotched Fantail Ray is regularly taken in low numbers by tangle netters operating out of Jakarta (Java), Bali and Merauke (West Papua), while demersal longliners that operate out of Lombok and large pair trawlers operating out of Merauke irregularly take adults. The latter fishery has consisted of some 650 vessels and pressure is intense where the vessels operate in the Arafura Sea. Low numbers of juveniles are also taken by prawn and fish trawlers around Indonesia, particularly in the Java Sea.

A prawn trawl fishery consisting of about nine vessels operates in the Gulf of Papua in southern Papua New Guinea. Detailed species composition data for the bycatch is not currently available, but this is currently being investigated (L. Baje, National Fisheries Authority, pers. comm., February 2015).

Overall, fishing pressure is significant (and generally unregulated) over most of the species' distribution throughout Asia and across its Indian Ocean range (India, East Africa, etc.). Additional pressure exists on its habitat in that region due to destructive fishing practices (dynamite fishing) and run-off affecting coral reef systems, the main habitat of the species.

In Australia, the species is a discarded bycatch in demersal prawn trawl fisheries. In the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF), the Blotched Fantail Ray had a mean catch rate of 0.4 individuals/km² and was classified as amongst the least sustainable elasmobranch bycatch species in the fishery (this assessment combines the species' susceptibility to capture and mortality due to trawling, and the capacity of the species to recover after depletion by trawling) (Stobutzki et al. 2002). The mandatory use of turtle exclusions devices (TEDs) in prawn trawl fisheries operating off northern Australia (including the NPF and the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery) should limit the catch of this species in these fisheries.

The Blotched Fantail Ray is taken by recreational surf and ski-boat anglers off South Africa, but is apparently released unharmed (Compagno et al. 1989). It is also a bycatch of offshore trawlers off southern Africa (Compagno et al. 1989). Details of catches elsewhere in its range are lacking.

Blotched Fantail Ray's status