|Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray (Taeniura lymma)|
The Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray (Taeniura lymma) is one of the smaller members of the stingray family, Dasyatidae. We think it's also the nicest looking stingray, sporting those wonderful, eye-catching blue spots.
An Indo-Pacific species, this ray is found in the Red Sea, in coastal areas of the Indian Ocean, and around the coasts and islands of Southeast Asia. Despite its wide distribution range, these critters are becoming scarce in some areas due to the aquarium trade: their pretty coloration and smallish size make them attractive to keepers of saltwater aquariums. Unfortunately, these rays do not do very well in captivity.
They are dependent on coral reef habitats for their survival. They forage in sand patches for small crustaceans, molluscs and other invertebrates. Naturally, their populations also have declined in areas where reefs have been degraded by development, overfishing, and so on.
The Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray pictured on this page is an adult, roughly one foot (30cm) wide. I photographed it at Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia.