Animal Species:Blotched Fantail Ray, Taeniura meyeni Müller & Henle, 1841

The Blotched Fantail Ray is widespread along the Great Barrier Reef and has a distinctive disc shape, colour pattern and a ventral skin fold on its tail. Although it is not generally aggressive by nature it has been responsible for at least one human fatality.

Blotched Fantail Ray, Taeniura meyeni

Blotched Fantail Ray, Taeniura meyeni
Photographer: Derek Morton © Derek Morton

Standard Common Name

Blotched Fantail Ray

Alternative Name/s

It has also been called the Black-blotched Stingray, Bull Ray, Blackspotted Stingray, Giant Reef Ray and Round Ribbontail Ray.


The Blotched Fantail Ray has a roughly circular-shaped disc that has a mottled black and white pattern on the upper surface. There are no thorns on on the disk. When undamaged, the depressed tail is slightly longer than the disk. It has a prominent skin fold that extends to the tail tip.

The Blotched Fantail Ray is commonly confused with another bull ray, the Cowtail Stingray. The difference being the colouration and the Cowtail Stingrays slightly pointed disc shape.

Size range

It grows to about 3.3 m in total length and 1.8 m in disc width.


It occurs widely in the Indo-west and central Pacific Oceans. In Australia it is known from the central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and south on the east coast as far as northern New South Wales and Lord Howe Island.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Taeniura meyeni

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Blotched Fantail Ray specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


The Blotched Fantail Ray is a bottom dwelling species that can be found in inshore and coral reef waters usually on sandy substrates.

Danger to humans and first aid

The species is not generally aggressive but is responsible for at least one human fatality.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.
  3. Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific: New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. University of Hawai’i Press. Pp. 584.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fish, ichthyology, Blotched Fantail Ray, Taeniura meyeni, Dasyatidae, ray, stingray, Great Barrier Reef, marine, adult, blotches/mottled, Black-blotched Stingray, Bull Ray, Blackspotted Stingray, Giant Reef Ray, Round Ribbontail Ray, circular-shaped disc, no thorns, > 2m, bottom-dwelling, inshore water, coral reef, sandy substrates,