Description & Behavior

Marbled rays, Taeniura meyeni (Müller and Henle, 1841), aka black-blotched stingrays, black-spotted stingrays, blotched fantail rays, fantail stingrays, giant reef rays, round ribbontail rays, and speckled stingrays, are a large stingray with a circular disc, no thorns, a black and white mottled upper surface and a deep and prominent ventral (under) skin fold that extends to their tail tip. More widely known as T. melanospila (Bleeker, 1853), a junior synonym based on the description of a juvenile.


Maximum recorded size of 3.3 m and a maximum weight of 150 kg.

World Range & Habitat

Marbled rays occur in a wide range of habitats, from shallow lagoons to outer reef slopes. Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to southern Japan, Micronesia, tropical Australia and Lord Howe Island; Eastern Pacific: known only from oceanic islands (Cocos and the Galapagos) but because of sheer number, individuals may colonize Central America coastlines as well.

Marbled rays are found singly or in groups usually with jacks and cobia swimming near them to depths of up to 500 m.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Marbled rays, Taeniura meyeni, feed on bottom fish, bivalves, crabs and shrimp.

Life History

Marbled rays are ovoviviparous bearing up to 7 pups in a litter. Distinct pairing with embrace.

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

Marbled rays, Taeniura meyeni, are not normally aggressive, but they have been responsible for at least one human fatality. Sought by surf and boat anglers in southern Africa, but usually released unharmed. Longevity record for a specimen in an aquarium is 81 days.

Marbled rays are listed as Vulnerable (VU A2ad+3d+4ad) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:

A taxon is Vulnerable when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Vulnerable (see Section V), and it is therefore considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

References & Further Research

Research Taeniura meyeni @
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

Search for Marbled Rays @
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