The bluespotted ribbontail ray, scientific name Taeniura lymma is a species of stingray within the family Dasyatidae. Found from the intertidal zone to a depth of 30 m (100 ft), this species is widespread all through the tropical Indian and western Pacific Oceans in nearshore, coral reef-associated habitats.
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray Profile
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray is a reasonably small ray, not exceeding 35 cm (14 in) in width, with a principally clean, oval pectoral fin disc, giant protruding eyes, and a comparatively quick and thick tail with a deep fin fold below.
It will be simply recognized by its placing shade pattern of many electrical blue spots on a yellowish background, with a pair of blue stripes on the tail.
The iridescent blue spots on the body of the bluespotted ribbontail ray (Taeniura lymma) are a warning, not an invite. These rays choose to be left alone and can show it, if necessary, with the lashing of a really long tail armed with two extraordinarily venomous spines.
Though their poison will be deadly (even to people), they’re most probably to swim away from confrontation—maybe as a result of apart from people, their most persistently documented predator is the hammerhead shark.
This smaller ray (12 to 14 inches throughout) has an oval pectoral disc that’s normally yellow to brown to olive-green and scattered with blue spots on top, and white beneath.
It seems to be rather a lot just like the blue-spotted stingray, however, this ray is way rounder and has a noticeably thicker tail.
It has two venomous spines on its tail, however, it tends to be shy to people and can solely use these as protection if threatened or stepped on. They choose to look at crustaceans and small fish in reefs and can comply with the high tide into shallower, sandy areas.
The reproductive mode of this ray is ovoviviparous with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving extra nourishment from the mom by oblique absorption of uterine “milk” that’s enriched with mucus, fats, and protein.
Females give birth to as much as seven younger per litter after a gestation interval of 4-12 months (unknown). These younger have markings just like the adults together with the attribute blue spots.
At night, small teams of bluespotted ribbontail rays comply with the rising tide onto sandy flats to root for small benthic invertebrates and bony fishes within the sediment.
When the tide recedes, the rays separate and withdraw to shelters on the reef. Reproduction is aplacental viviparous, with females giving birth to litters of as much as seven younger.
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray is able to injure people with its venomous tail spines, although it prefers to flee if threatened.
Because of its magnificence and size, the bluespotted ribbontail ray is popular with personal aquarists regardless of being poorly suited to captivity.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed this species as Near Threatened because it faces widespread habitat degradation and intensive fishing strain all through its range.
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray Common Names
English language widespread names for this species embody bluespotted ribbontail ray, blue spotted lagoon ray, blue spotted stingray, blue-spotted fantail ray, blue-spotted lagoon ray, blue-spotted ray, blue-spotted ribbontail ray, blue-spotted stingray, bluespotted fantail ray, bluespotted ribbontailray, bluespotted stingray, lagoon ray, lesser fan-tailed ray, lesser fantail ray, reef ray, ribbon-tailed ray, and ribbontail stingray. Other widespread names embody ali maduva (Sinhalese), ath maduva (Sinhalese), blåplettet pigrokke (Danish), blauwgestippelde pijlstaartrog (Dutch), bloukol-lintstertrog (Afrikaans), ikan pari (Malay), kiampao (Cebuano), krabane tong (Thai), lukhmah (Arabic), nauhakeihäsrausku (Finnish), nyenga (Swahili), pagi (Tagalog), pari karang (Malay), pari kembang (Malay), pari reben (Malay), pastenague queue à ruban (French), rajalátigo rabo cinta (Spanish), ratão pintalgado (Portuguese), ruget (Arabic), shafane (Somali), trnucha lemovaná (Czech), vali (Gela), and yilinggan (Guugu Yimidhirr).
Range and Conservation Status
Bluespotted ribbontail rays are discovered primarily in shallow waters within the tropical Indian and western Pacific oceans, although they’ve been spotted close to Australia and southern Africa as properly.
As resilient as they’re within the ocean, ribbontail rays fare poorly in captivity, particularly in personal aquariums. Since additionally they reproduce slowly and in small numbers, their attractiveness to people is a critical legal responsibility, incomes the species a Near Threatened conservation standing.
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray Distribution and habitat
Bluespotted ribbontail rays are present in shallow temperate and tropical waters over continental cabinets to depths of 66 feet (20 m). As a resident of coral reefs, this ray disperses throughout falling tides to take up shelter in crevasses and below rocky ledges.
During rising tides, it migrates in small aggregations onto shallow sandy areas looking for prey. This species has not often been noticed buried below the sandy sediments.
Widespread within the nearshore waters of the tropical Indo-Pacific area, the bluespotted ribbontail ray has a range that extends across the periphery of the Indian Ocean from South Africa to the Arabian Peninsula to Southeast Asia, together with Madagascar, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.
It is uncommon within the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. In the Pacific Ocean, this species is discovered from the Philippines to northern Australia, in addition, to round quite a few Melanesian and Polynesian islands as far east because the Solomon Islands.
Rarely discovered deeper than 30 m (100 ft), the bluespotted ribbontail ray is a bottom-dwelling species that frequents coral reefs and adjoining sandy flats.
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray can also be generally encountered within the intertidal zone and tidal swimming pools and has been sighted close to seagrass beds. Every summer season, appreciable numbers of bluespotted ribbontail rays arrive off South Africa.
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray Description
The pectoral fin disc of the bluespotted ribbontail ray is oval in form, round four-fifths as broad as long, with a rounded to broadly angular snout. The giant, protruding eyes are instantly adopted by the broad spiracles.
There is a slim flap of skin between the nares with a fringed posterior margin, reaching past the mouth. The lower jaw dips on the center and deep furrows are present on the mouth corners.
There are 15–24 tooth rows in both jaw, organized into pavement-like plates, and two giant papillae on the ground of the mouth. The pelvic fins are slim and angular.
The thick, depressed tail measures about 1.5 instances the disc size and bears one or two (normally two) serrated spines properly behind the tail base; there’s a deep fin fold on the ventral floor, reaching the tip of the tail, and a low midline ridge on the higher floor.
The skin is usually clean, save for maybe a scattering of small thorns on the center of the back. The dorsal coloration is placing, consisting of quite a few round, neon blue spots on a yellowish-brown or green background; the spots differ in size, turning into smaller and denser in direction of the disc margin. The tail has two stripes of the same blue operating alongside either side so far as the spines.
The eyes are vibrant yellow and the stomach is white. Individuals discovered off southern Africa might lack the blue tail stripes. The bluespotted ribbontail ray grows to 35 cm (14 in) throughout, 80 cm (31 in) long, and 5 kg (11 lb).
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray Ecology
One of essentially the most considerable stingrays inhabiting Indo-Pacific reefs, the bluespotted ribbontail ray typically spends the day hidden alone inside caves or below coral ledges or different particles (together with from shipwrecks), usually with solely its tail exhibiting.
At night, small teams assemble and swim onto shallow sandy flats with the rising tide to feed. Unlike many different stingrays, this species seldom buries itself within the sand.
The bluespotted ribbontail ray excavates sand pits looking for molluscs, polychaete worms, shrimps, crabs, and small benthic bony fishes; when prey is situated, it’s trapped by the body of the ray and maneuvered into the mouth with the disc.
Other fishes, akin to goatfish, regularly comply with foraging rays, in search of meals missed by the ray.
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray Biology
This stingray has an oval and elongated disc with broadly rounded outer corners. The snout is bluntly rounded with slender slim nostrils and the spiracles are giant and situated near the big eyes.
The mouth and gills are situated on the ventral floor of the ray. The pelvic fins are average in size and slender. The tail is stout and tapers, measuring lower than twice the body size.
The lower caudal fin fold is broad and reaches the tip of the tail. There are normally two, however generally one, medium-sized spines present on the tail used to fend off would-be predators.
The bluespotted ribbontail ray could also be confused with the bluespotted stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii) which can also be discovered inshore over coral reefs. However, the bluespotted stingray will be distinguished with its more angular disc and a more slender tail.
A visually attention-grabbing ray, the bluespotted ribbontail ray is grey-brown to yellow to olive-green or reddish-brown in shade with giant vibrant blue spots throughout the dorsal floor of the disc. There are blue stripes on both facet of the tail. The ventral floor is uniformly white.
Inside the mouth, the quite a few small teeth are organized in plates and used for crushing prey akin to mollusks and crabs.
The disc of this ray is clean apart from a small patch of thorns alongside the midback dorsal area of adult specimens.
Size, Age, and Growth
The most-reported size of the bluespotted ribbontail ray is 12 inches (30 cm) disc width and a most total size of 28 inches(70 cm). The lifespan has but to be decided.
Feeding in sandy areas adjoining to reefs throughout high tides, the bluespotted ribbontail ray’s prey consists of mollusks, worms, shrimps, crabs, and small fishes.
A documented predator of the bluespotted ribbontail ray is the hammerhead shark. The hammerhead shark pins the ray to the underside substrate with its heads, avoiding harm from the venomous spines whereas eradicating flesh from the dorsal floor of the Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray.
Other potential predators embody marine mammals and huge fish akin to sharks. This ray has been noticed soliciting cleanings from the Bluestreak cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) by elevating the margins of its disc and pelvic fins.
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray Behavior
Ribbontail rays typically live in small teams, however when the tide rises they migrate en masse to shallow, sandy areas, the place they bury themselves within the sand to scoop up meals. They’ve additionally been seen scavenging the occasional shipwreck.
The ray’s mouth and gills are each on the underside of its body, enabling it to breathe simply whereas it casts around for mollusks, crabs, shrimp, worms, and small fish, crushing up prey between two plates made up of smaller teeth. When the tide recedes, the school of rays returns to the ocean and takes shelter within the coral reef.
While rooting around with their mouths within the sand, ribbontail rays use a system known as electroreception to assist find prey (in addition to predators and buddies, in different circumstances).
Using sensing organs known as the ampullae of Lorenzini, rays choose up on refined electrical fields and temperature gradients generated by different animals.
Electroreception is usually unique to the marine world since water is a greater conductor than air, however, it’s additionally been noticed amongst bees, cockroaches, and spiny anteaters.
Ribbontail rays are ovoviviparous, which means offspring develop inside eggs throughout the mom’s body and are born live shortly after they hatch—a trait shared with sure sharks in addition to snakes and bugs.
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray gestation durations differ from 4 months to as long as a year, and each litter can comprise as many as seven ray pups, every of which is born with a singular, miniature variation of its parents’ blue spots.
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray Breeding
Breeding within the bluespotted ribbontail ray happens from late spring to summer season; the male follows the feminine and nips at her disc, ultimately biting and holding onto her for copulation.
There can also be a documented occasion of a male holding onto the disc of a smaller male blue-spotted stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii), in a possible case of mistaken identification.
Adult males have been noticed gathering in shallow water, which can relate to reproduction. Like different stingrays, this species is aplacental viviparous: the embryos are initially sustained by yolk, which later in growth is supplemented by histotroph (“uterine milk”, containing mucus, fats, and proteins) produced by the mom.
The gestation interval is unsure however is regarded as between 4 and twelve months long. Females bear litters of as much as seven younger, every a miniature model of the adult measuring round 13–14 cm (5.1–5.5 in) throughout. Males attain sexual maturity at a disc width of 20–21 cm (7.9–8.3 in); the maturation size of females is unknown.
Importance to Humans
The bluespotted ribbontail ray is taken by business fisheries in addition to by leisure fishers as a game fish. This species can also be popular with dwelling marine aquarists though it tends to not do properly in captivity.
Danger to Humans
Bluespotted ribbon tail rays are sometimes shy, swimming away when approached by divers. However, when threatened, it is going to use its venomous tail backbone to ship venom into slim grooves operating lengthwise alongside the underside of the stinger.
The complete construction is roofed by a skinny layer of skin which, when damaged, releases its venom into its sufferer. The sting from its backbone will be fairly painful.
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