Bluespotted Rays, Dasyatis kuhlii
Taxonomy Animalia Chordata Elasmobranchii Rajiformes Dasyatidae Dasyatis kuhlii
Description & Behavior
Bluespotted rays, Dasyatis kuhlii (Müller and Henle, 1841), aka blue spotted stingrays, blue-spotted stingrays, or blue-spotted maskrays, are usually reddish-brown to green with bright blue centered spots (ocelli - false eyes) and scattered black spots on their dorsal (upper) side. Their ventral (under) side is white. They have very short, broad, angular snouts and their disc (body) is angular with a total length of up to 70 cm. Their tails are as long as their body with conspicuous black and white rings and a short upper caudal finfold, and longer lower finfold that ends behind the tail tip. There is usually one stinging spine on their tail used for defense.
World Range & Habitat
Bluespotted rays are found in the Indo-West Pacific, Red Sea, Zanzibar (Tanzania), South Africa, India, Sri Lanka east to the Philippines, north to Japan, and south to Australia, where it is known from the central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north and south to the New South Wales north coast. There are a number of different colored morphs in the Indo-Pacific, which may be different species.
The bluespotted ray is a solitary species found on sandy bottoms near rocky or coral reefs. They are usually found in deeper water but are also seen on reef flats and in shallow lagoons at high tide. They are occasionally found covered in sand with just the eyes and tail visible.
Feeding Behavior (Ecology)
Bluespotted rays prey on crabs and shrimps and possibly other small prey.
Bluespotted rays are an ovoviviparous species. There is a distinct pairing with embrace and pups measure 16 cm at birth.
Ovoviviparous: eggs are retained within the body of the female in a brood chamber where the embryo develops, receiving nourishment from a yolk sac. This is the method of reproduction for the "live-bearing" fishes where pups hatch from egg capsules inside the mother's uterus and are born soon afterward. Also known as aplacental viviparous.
Conservation Status & Comments
Their venomous tail spine can inflict a painful wound. They "sting" only when stepped on or handled, but they are difficult to see since they are often buried in sandy bottoms.
References & Further Research
Research Dasyatis kuhlii » Barcode of Life ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library [audio / video] ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS
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