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Blue Spotted Stingray

Blue Spotted Stingray

Facts About The Blue Spotted Stingray

The blue spotted stingray is a stunning creature found deep in coral reefs. They generally spend their time hiding in the rocky or sandy bottom areas of reefs that include those found in the Red sea, the Arabian Gulf, South East Africa, southern Japan and northern Australia. Named for its distinguishable bright blue iridescent spots, the blue spotted stingray is by far one of the most attractive members of the stingray family.

The bright blue spots and dark blue stripes that run the length of the tail of the blue spotted stingray act as a warning to predators of the venomous barbs that are situated on the end of the tail. While the blue spotted stingray will use its tail to defend itself from predators, like most stingrays, they are generally peaceful creatures.

The blue spotted stingray has a mouth and gills that are located on the underside of the body. Inside of the mouth are two plates that are used to crush the shells of the crustaceans the blue spotted stingray eats as its primary source of nutrition.

Closeup of Blue Spotted Stingray
Image by cold water diverCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These colorful deep-sea creatures use their mouth to scoop up their prey like a shovel. The underside of the blue spotted stingray is white, while the primary color of the body is a grayish or reddish brown. This coloration serves as a camouflaging mechanism, allowing the blue spotted stingray to blend in with the sand when viewed from above and blend in with the sunlight streaming through the water when viewed from below.

While the blue spotted stingray is most commonly found in the depths of the coral reefs, when high tide arrives they will move to the shallower reefs. Blue spotted stingrays tend to swim alone or in very small tight knit groupings. When it is time to eat, the smaller groups of stingrays will migrate into a large school, disbursing after the feeding is done back into their small groups again.

The blue spotted stingray is listed as a threatened species, despite its wide range of habitat. The main reason for concern of their future lies with the destruction of the coral reefs. Poisoning of the waters through runoff from farm fertilizers and commercial pesticides and fishing have also caused a significant decline in population.

Closeup of Blue Spotted Stingray on a sand
Image by François Libert used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Because the blue spotted stingray is not an endangered species, many are caught for the pet trade. Their beautiful coloration combined with the fact they do not often burrow in the sand makes them a sought after aquarium resident.

Unfortunately, few of the captive blue spotted stingrays live to their full life potential due to their large size at maturity. Most home aquariums lack the room that would be required as well as the varied diet needed to properly maintain their metabolism.

Breeding in captivity has not been highly successful for the blue spotted stingray. In the wild the female emits chemical that attracts the males by scent. The breeding season typically last through most of the spring and summer.

Once a pregnancy is achieved, the female holds the eggs in her uterus for four months to a year. When the pups hatch they are born and have the same markings and bright blue spots of their parents. The typical litter consists of up to seven young, which are self sufficient and fully venomous from birth.

While many scuba divers seek out the blue spotted stingray it is important to not forget that while these colorful creatures are generally docile, they can attack with their tails when they feel threatened. As with any venomous fish or sea creature admiring them from a distance is the safest option. The blue spotted stingray typically feeds by day, making it easy to spot them if divers explore their habitat areas.

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