Names: Marble ray, Marbled ribbontail ray, Marbled fantail ray,
Blotched ribbontail ray, Blotched fantail ray
Latin Name: Taeniurops meyeni,
Rounded disc grey with dense covering of black spots.
Maximum disc width
bays, rocky and coral reefs, estuaries, and lagoons.
Distribution: Common throughout the
central and western tropical pacific and from the
Red Sea and Indian Ocean.
Probably also common around offshore islands in the Eastern Pacific such as at Galapagos and Cocos Island
but due to their more mottled appearance and complete isolation, Eastern Pacific
blotched rays may prove to be a unique species once DNA sampling has been
conducted (private comm. Peter Last, CSIRO).
Rests on sand.
Forages for bivalves, shrimps, crabs and bottom fishes.
Ovoviviparous. litter up to 7.
Scott Michael notes a report of one
Marbled ray killing a diver with its barb.
Conservation Status: the IUCN lists
the Marbled stingray as VULNERABLE. Found inshore to a depth of 439 m. Little is
known of its biology, although litter size is known to be small (up to seven
young). There is also little information on threats and fishery catches
throughout much of the species' range, but given the intense fishing pressure
known to be on large batoid species in areas such as Southeast Asia, the
particular vulnerability of the species to various fishing methods, its limited
life history characteristics and the general declining health of coral reef
systems (its main habitat) throughout its Indo-West Pacific distribution, the
species is assessed globally as Vulnerable. In Australia, the species is
considered Least Concern due to protection afforded in marine parks and the
effective use of Turtle Exclusion Devices in northern Australian prawn trawl
fisheries, which should limit the catch of the species there. Similarly, it is
assessed as Least Concern in the Maldives where the species has a high
ecotourism value and is thus afforded protection through the prohibition of the
export of rays and ray products.
Cocos Island (Costa Rica).
species: The wide distribution of
the marbled ribbontail ray makes it impractical to compare with all other
stingrays within its range. Its round body disc and blotched appearance are key
characteristics to aid in identification.
away upon close approach.
logistics: Probably the best
encounters available with this ray are at Cocos Island off of the Pacific Coast
of Costa Rica, and in the Galapagos. At certain times at these locations
(probably related to mating) hundreds of rays gather together and can be spotted
on a single dive.
Diving at Cocos is strictly liveaboard only with two operators presently running
1 to 2 week trips. See the link to the Undersea Hunter and Inula Diving on the
Kyne, P.M. & White, W.T. 2006. Taeniurops meyeni. The
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T60162A12300696. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2006.RLTS.T60162A12300696.en