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 ~ SCIRIS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS
Feedback & Citation
Start or join a discussion about this species below or send us an email to report any errors or submit suggestions for this page. We greatly appreciate all feedback!
Help Protect and Restore Ocean Life
Help us protect and restore marine life by supporting our various online community-centered marine conservation projects that are effectively sharing the wonders of the ocean with millions each year around the world, raising a balanced awareness of the increasingly troubling and often very complex marine conservation issues that affect marine life and ourselves directly, providing support to marine conservation groups on the frontlines that are making real differences today, and the scientists, teachers and students involved in the marine life sciences. Join us today or show your support with a monthly donation. Join the MarineBio Conservation Society With your support, most marine life and their ocean habitats can be protected, if not restored to their former natural levels of biodiversity. We sincerely thank our thousands of members, donors and sponsors, who have decided to get involved and support the MarineBio Conservation Society.