Common Names: Yellow
stingray, Yellow spotted stingray, Lemon ray.
Identification: Disc circular or
slightly oval, no dorsal fin, tail shorter than disc length. Dorsum pale with
dark and light spots and blotches. Overall appearance may be very pale or boldly
patterned depending on the rays habitat.
The almost black
underlying skin coloration with bright yellow dots in the lower image is very
unusual. This ray was found in a dark muddy lagoon where a corresponding color
would be appropriate. Why this ray has accentuated yellow spots that make it
stand out is unclear.
Size: Maximum length 60cm, Disc width
Habitat: Sandy areas often around
coral reefs, bays, and lagoons. Intertidal to 25m.
Abundance: Common in Florida and
Distribution: North Carolina to
Behavior: Lies motionless often
covered by sand. When searching for food (crustaceans) creates a depression in
the sand by flapping its anterior disc margin.
From top: Grand Cayman,
Florida Keys, Utila.
Similar species: There are no other urolophid stingray species in the
caribbean. The similarly shaped chupare stingray is easily distinguishable by
its larger size, plain colouration and long whiplike tail devoid of finfolds.
Reaction to divers:
The yellow spotted stingray will allow a close
approach with slow non threatening movements. This ray will bolt when disturbed.
Diving logistics: This such a commonly
seen species that it can be found on almost any shallow dive within its range.
Shore diving from the Florida coast would be a good place to look. On Grand
Cayman I found many in the lagoons inside the reefs on the North and South
shores in very shallow water. Inside the reef at Spotts Beach is a good area to
snorkel. On the Atlantic coast of Florida I saw Yellow stingrays on every shallow dive that I did
during the summer.
On Utila it may be
possible to find this ray displaying the dark color morph in Oyster Bed lagoon.
During a one week period while snorkeling every day I found one solitary
Other locations reported by readers: