Marble Ray
Marble Ray

The Marble Ray has many names, including two scientific ones:
Taeniura meyeni and T. melanospilos. Its common names
include Black-spotted stingray, Giant reef ray, Marbled ray,
Blotched fantail ray and Round ribbontail ray.

The first thing you notice about the Marble Ray is its
great size. It can be 3 m (10 ft) in length and
1.7 m (6 ft) wide. Round in shape it is covered with a dense
pattern of black spots. It is not aggressive but you need to
be careful of the spines on the tail.

You see the Marble Ray in the Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea and
East Africa to southern Japan, Micronesia and tropical Australia;
and in the Cocos and Galapagos islands in the Eastern Pacific.
It occurs in a wide range of habitats, from shallow lagoons
to outer reef slopes, and usually has other fish like jacks
swimming near them. Carnivorous, the Marble Ray eats
bottom fish and crustaceans.

The female bears live young: the eggs are kept in the
body of the female where the embryo develops. Up to
seven pups hatch from the egg capsules and are born
soon afterwards.

The ray is classified as “vulnerable” on the
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This means that
it is at high risk of endangerment in the wild.

Although Australia and the Maldives protect the ray
through marine parks and prohibiting the export of rays
and ray products, elsewhere the species is caught by
line gear and trawl throughout its range. For example,
in Indonesia Taeniura meyeni is regularly taken
in low numbers by tangle netters operating out of
Jakarta (Java), Bali and Merauke (West Papua), while
demersal longliners that operate out of Lombok and
large pair trawlers operating out of Merauke
irregularly take adults. The latter fishery comprises
some 650 vessels and pressure is intense where the
vessels operate in the Arafura Sea. Low numbers of
juveniles are also taken by prawn and fish trawlers
around Indonesia, particularly in the Java Sea.

Overall, fishing pressure is significant over most
of the species’ range throughout Asia and across its
Indian Ocean range (India, East Africa etc).
Additional pressure exists on its habitat in that
region due to destructive fishing practices (dynamite
fishing) and run-off impacting coral reef systems,
the main habitat of the species.

Further Reading:

Coral Reef Fishes Indo-Pacific and Caribbean, Lieske and Myers

Kyne, P.M. & White, W.T. 2006. Taeniura meyeni. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. .

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