Rays – Common stingray


Common stingray

Gozo & MaltaAtlantic SpeciesRays

Common Name: Common stingray

Scientific Names: Dasyatis pastinaca

Description: The individuals I have seen have been small 20-30cm in width, although they can grow up to 1.4m. Like all rays, the body is flattened top to bottom and they have very enlarged pectoral fins or ‘wings’ which undulate during swimming. Stingrays have a very long tail with a barb-like sting part way along it. The colour of the top of the body is dark grey.

Distinctive Features: Long whip-like tail fin with a sharp spine about a third of the way along it.

Abundance: Solitary. Predominantly over sandy habitats so if this habitat is not present you are unlikely to see any.

Habitat & Behaviour: They are found mainly over sandy habitats were they burrow in the sand for food – see video 19. When feeding they are often followed by other species such as Flounders which try to catch any small creatures the Stingray disturbs.

Reaction to Snorkellers & Divers: Wary of snorkellers diving from the surface probably because they are easy targets for even the least proficient spear fisherman. Less wary of divers.

Other Notes: There are at least five other Stingrays found in the Mediterranean, some of which have distinctive patterns. However, in the area covered you are most likely to see the Common stingray.

Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Russell & Gill Bennett
Video: Bob Earll & Julia Jagoditsch

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