Description & Behavior
Blue-spotted rays, Taeniura lymma (Forsskål, 1775), aka blue-spotted fantail rays, blue spotted stingrays, blue spotted rays, and ribbontail stingrays, are colorful stingrays with large bright blue spots on an oval, elongated disc and blue side-stripes along their tails. Their snout is rounded and angular and the disc has broadly rounded outer corners. They have a short tapering tail that is less than twice their body length when intact, with a broad lower caudal finfold that extends to the tail tip. Their disc has no large thorns but does have small, flat denticles along their midback in adults. There is usually 1 medium-sized stinging spine on their tail found further from the base than most stingrays. They are gray-brown to yellow, or olive-green to reddish brown in color on their dorsal (upper) side, white on their ventral (under) side. They reach a maximum length about 70 cm.
World Range & Habitat
Blue-spotted rays are found around coral reefs in a depth range up to to 20 m. They are only rarely found buried under the sand. In the Indo-West Pacific they are found in the Red Sea and off East Africa to the Solomon Islands, north to southern Japan, and south to northern Australia.
Feeding Behavior (Ecology)
Blue-spotted rays migrate in groups into shallow sandy areas during the rising tide to feed on mollusks, worms, shrimps, and crabs; they disperse at low tide to seek shelter in caves and under ledges.
Blue-spotted rays are ovoviviparous. Distinct pairing with embrace ane bear up to 7 young at a time.
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
Blue-spotted rays are venomous. Small specimens are popular among marine aquarists, though they do not survive well in aquariums. Although they are very wide-ranging and common, this species is subject to population decreases because of capture for the marine aquarium fish trade and by widespread destruction of reef habitats.
References & Further Research
Research Taeniura lymma @
Barcode of Life BioOne Biodiversity Heritage Library CITES Cornell Macaulay Library 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