Neotrygon kuhlii

Bluespotted Stingray

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Bluespotted Stingray Bluespotted Stingray

 

Description

A solitary species found on sandy bottoms near rocky or coral reefs (Ref. 12951). Usually found in deeper water but moves onto the reef flat and into shallow lagoons at high tide (Ref. 12951). Occasionally covers itself with sand, leaving only its eyes and tail visible (Ref. 37816). Feeds on crabs and shrimps (Ref. 5578). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). The venomous spine can inflict a painful wound (Ref.4690). Caught in very large quantities in the bottom trawl, trammel and fish trap fisheries. Utilized for its meat but of limited value due to its small size (Ref.58048).

Geography

Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea (Ref. 9840) and East Africa to Samoa (Ref. 592) and Tonga (Ref. 53797), north to Japan, south to Australia (Ref. 9840). Represented by multiple color morphs in the Indo-Pacific which may be different species (Ref. 9840).

Ecosystem

A demersal species found on sandy bottoms near rocky or coral reefs at depths of 0?90 m (White et al. 2006). This species is usually found in deeper water but moves onto the reef flat and into shallow lagoons at high tide (Michael 1993). In Indonesia, this species often occurs on sandy mud bottom (Fahmi pers. obs. 2007). It occasionally covers itself with sand, leaving only its eyes and tail visible (Myers 1999).

Size parameters differ between regions and areas because this is most likely a complex of more than five species. The Java form attains at least 38cm disc width (DW), with males maturing at 22?26 cm DW and females at 23?27 cm DW (White et al. 2006, White and Dharmadi 2007). Size at birth for the Java form is 11?16 cm (White et al. 2006). The Bali form attains at least 45 cm DW, with males maturing at 31?35 cm DW (White et al. 2006, White and Dharmadi 2007). Size at birth for the Bali form is ~17 cm. Reproduction is viviparous, with histotrophy. Java and Bali forms give birth to litters of 1?2 pups after an unknown gestation period and there is apparently no reproductive synchronicity (White et al. 2006). Dasyatis kuhlii feeds on crabs and shrimps (Compagno et al. 1989).
 

Conservation

Bluespotted Stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii) is reported throughout a wide range from the western Indian Ocean to the eastern Pacific, but may be a complex of more than five species. Investigation is vital to resolve the taxonomic issues associated with this species complex and it is not possible to assess it beyond Data Deficient at present. The Bluespotted Stingray is taken as utilized bycatch of bottom trawl, trammel net and fish trap fisheries in many parts of its range. It is relatively common and possibly more resilient than some of the other larger ray species in parts of its known range, for example Indonesia. It is also exhibited in some public aquariums, but does not constitute a major species in aquarium trade. Further work is required to identify the species involved and make full assessments of their status.

 

Threats

This species is of commercial interest to fisheries throughout its range. It is also taken from the wild for use in aquariums (Compagno 1986).

In Indonesia, this species is caught as utilized bycatch in trawl, trammel net and Danish seine fisheries targeting mixed demersal fishes. It is commonly caught in large numbers by trawl and Danish seine boats operating in the Java Sea. This species is the second most important elasmobranch caught by the Danish seine fishery according to the total catch (biomass) and is the principle elasmobranch in terms of the total number of individuals (contributing ~ 700 kg/boat in average) (Fahmi pers. obs. 2007). According to anecdotal observations of artisanal fisheries catches in Java during August 2006?May 2007, the production of D. kuhlii increased (from 231 kg/boat in August 2006, to 724 kg/boat in May 2007). Total production of rays in Indonesian fishery statistics also showed an increasing trend (DGCF 2005).

It is utilised for its meat but of limited value due to its small size. The meat is often smoked and salted or dried for marketing locally. This is a relatively small ray and it may, possibly, be more resilient to depletion in fisheries than some of the other larger ray species in parts of its known range.

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