Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray
Found from the intertidal zone to a depth of 30m. this species is common throughout the tropical Indian and western Pacific Oceans in nearshor, coral reef associated habitats. It is a fairly small ray, not exceeding 35 cm. in width, with a mostly smooth, oval pectoral fin disc, large protruding eyes, and a relatively short and thick tail with a deep fin fold underneath. It can be easily identified by its striking color pattern of many electric blue spots on a yellowish background, with a pair of blue stripes on the tail.
At night, small groups of bluespotted ribbontail rays follow the rising tide onto sandy flats to root for small benthic invertebrates and bony fishe in 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 up to seven young. This ray is capable of injuring humans with its venemous tail spines, though it prefers to flee if threatened. Because of its beauty and size, the bluespotted ribbontail ray is popular with private aquarists despite being poorly suited to captivity. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed this species as Near Threatened, as it faces widespread habitat degradation and intensive fishing pressure throughout its range.
Widespread in the nearshor waters of the tropical Indo-Pacific region, the bluespotted ribbontail ray has a range that extends around the periphery of the Indian Ocean from South Africa to the Arabian Peninsula to South-East Asia,including Madagascar, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. It is rare in thePersian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. In the Pacific Ocean this species is found from the Philippines to northern Australia, as well as around numerous Melanesian and Polynesian islands as far east as the Solomon Islands. Rarely found deeper than 30m., the bluespotted ribbontail ray is a bottom-dwelling species that frequents coral reefs and adjacent sandy flats. It is also commonly encountered in the intertidal zone and tidal pools, and has been sighted near seagrass beds. Every summer, considerable numbers of bluespotted ribbontail rays arrive off South Africa.
The pectoral fin disc of the bluespotted ribbontail ray is oval in shape, around four-fifths as wide as long, with a rounded to broadly angular snout. The large, protruding eyes are immediately followed by the broad spiracles. There is a narrow flap of skin between the nares with a fringed posterior margin, reaching past the mouth. The lower jaw dips at the middle and deep furrows are present at the mouth corners. There are 15–24 tooth rows in either jaw, arranged into pavement-like plates, and two large papillae on the floor of the mouth. The skin is generally smooth, save for perhaps a scattering of small thorns on the middle of the back. The dorsal coloration is striking, consisting of numerous circular, neon blue spots on a yellowish brown or green background; the spots vary in size, becoming smaller and denser towards the disc margin. The tail has two stripes of the same blue running along each side as far as the spines. The eyes are bright yellow and the belly is white. Individuals found off southern Africa may lack the blue tail stripes. The bluespotted ribbontail ray grows to 35 cm. across, 80 cm. long, and 5 kg. Trigone macchie blu Bluespotted ray Taeniura Lymma intotheblue.it