Blotched Fantail Ray, Taeniura meyeni Click to enlarge image
A Blotched Fantail Ray at a depth of 19m, Wolf Rock, off Double Island Point (Rainbow Beach), Queensland, 4 August 2006. Image: Derek Morton
© Derek Morton

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    meyeni
    Genus
    Taeniura
    Family
    Dasyatidae
    Order
    Myliobatiformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to about 3.3 m in total length and 1.8 m in disc width.

Introduction

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.

Identification

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.

Habitat

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

Distribution

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.



Danger to humans

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

References

  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.