Smooth Stingray, Dasyatis brevicaudata Click to enlarge image
A Smooth Stingray in Cabbage Tree Bay, Sydney, New South Wales, 19 June 2014. Image: Nick Dawkins
© Nick Dawkins

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    brevicaudata
    Genus
    Dasyatis
    Family
    Dasyatidae
    Order
    Myliobatiformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Smooth Stingray is the largest of all Australian stingrays. It grows to 4.3 m in length, 2 m disc width and a weight of 350 kg.

Introduction

The Smooth Stingray is the largest of all Australian stingrays (Family Dasyatidae). It grows to 4.3 m in length, 2 m disc width and a weight of 350 kg. It usually has irregular rows of small white spots on the upper surface.



Identification

The Smooth Stingray usually has irregular rows of small white spots on the upper surface beside the head and no thorn-like denticles along the dorsal midline of the disc. It has a relatively short tail, less than 1.2 times the disc length. This gives the fish its species name, brevicaudata, which comes from the Latin brevis, meaning 'short', and cauda meaning 'tail'. View footage of an albino individual.

Habitat

It is a bottom-dwelling species which is recorded from temperate waters. It lives in coastal waters and estuaries from shallow water down to about 170 m.



Distribution

The Smooth Stingray occurs in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In Australia it is known from southern Queensland, around the south of the country and north to the central coast of Western Australia.

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 Smooth Stingray is not aggressive and is often observed by divers. It usually has one venomous spine (the sting) halfway along the tail which is capable of inflicting severe or potentially fatal wounds. This species is sometimes observed raising its tail above its back like a scorpion.



References

  1. Brown, R.W. 1956. Composition of Scientific Words. R. W. Brown. Pp. 882.
  2. Last, P.R. in Gomon, M.F, C.J.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  5. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994 Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.