Shorttail Stingray, Short-tail Stingray, Smooth Stingray, Pitted
Stingray, Thorntail Stingray.
Synonyms: Dasyatis brevicaudata, Dasyatis
thetidis, Dasyatis matsubarai.
disc; wider than long. Anterior disc margins almost
straight with rounded tips. Snout obtuse. Dorsum smooth, dark brown to dark
purplish-grey with a
diagonal line of small white spots on each pectoral fin from level with the
eyes towards the tail. Ventrum pale, sometimes mottled near the margin. Center
line of tail contains a row raised thorns between base and barb. Beyond
barb/sting, tail tapers
quickly to a short thin whip.
Tail usually shorter
than disc with a short, prominent ventral finfold.
recorded disc width 210cm.
and rocky bottoms often near rocky reefs and continental drop offs. Intertidal
Observed in shallow bays in Australia. More
frequent between 180-480m in South Africa. Seen mating in cave systems in New Zealand.
Temperate seas. Mostly in the southern hemisphere in southeast Africa, Australia
except north coast, New Zealand and southern Oceana.
Also from the Northern Hemisphere around the Japanese archipelago and Eastern
Moves into shallow water in Australia at flood tide to feed. Feeds on bony fishes, bivalves,
squid, and crustaceans.
In NZ males have been observed biting and holding onto the much larger females
pectoral fin for hours at a time. During actual copulation the male flips upside
down under the female and inserts one clasper. He
then beats his pectoral fins up and down and in so doing moves his clasper in
and out of the females cloaca. During maturation males have been observed
nudging the female which may stimulate the birthing process.
Conservation Status: The IUCN lists
the Shorttail Stingray as LEAST CONCERN. This species is taken as bycatch
in trawl, Danish seine, longline and purse seine fisheries, but is most often
discarded, although small quantities are sold in Australia when caught as
bycatch (Lamberth 2006, Last and Stevens 2009). This species is a minor bycatch
component (4.3% of the elasmobranch catch) of the New South Wales commercial
line fishery with approximately 30% of these rays being retained (Macbeth et al.
2009). The species is also taken as bycatch (7% of the elasmobranch catch) in
the Southwest Longline fishery off Western Australia (Jones et al. 2010). An
estimated 88.5 tonnes were caught annually in the Australian Southern and
Eastern Shark and Scalefish Fishery between 2000 and 2006, of which ~5% was
retained for market (Walker and Gason 2007). It is commonly taken by
recreational line fishers, either by surfcasting or line fishing from boats and
sometimes speared or harpooned for sport. It is often released but sometimes
retained for their flesh, or for angling competitions. It is occasionally
captured in beach meshing/shark control gear off South Africa. Commercial and
recreational fishers regularly amputate stingrays' tails before releasing them
to reduce the risk of injury. The relatively large number of Short-tail
Stingrays seen by divers without tails suggests they survive capture and release
well. A small number of rays are caught for exhibition in public aquaria.
Roe Reef, Rottnest Island, Western Austra
Matsubara's Stingray (Dasyatis matsubarai) has a very similar appearance
including the rows of white spots, but is only known from Japan and possibly
to divers: The shorttail stingray moves away when approached but may
ignore divers when concentrating on mating.
logistics: Although I have seen
Shorttail rays on almost every dive at Rottnest Island I found these big rays
very unapproachable. A far better location to try would be the Poor
Knights Marine Reserve off of New Zealand where hundreds of Shorttail stingrays
Congregate to mate each summer.
Duffy, C.A.J., Paul, L.J.
& Chin, A. 2016. Bathytoshia brevicaudata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened
Species 2016: e.T41796A68618154. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41796A68618154.en.
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