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