Tail Spine Characteristics Of Stingrays (Order Myliobatiformes) Found In The Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean, And Black Seas


Frank J. Schwartz.


Institute of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina Morehead City, NC  28557-3209, USA.


Abstract: Stingray tail spines, long known to be harmful, characteristics have long been ignored by ichthyologists.  Examination of 12 of 14 species of stingrays found in the Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Black Seas (FAO fishing areas 27 and 37) revealed characteristics which can identify each species by spine alone.  Characteristics are:  total serrations on the spine, barbs on the spine base, total length (TL), base length, TL/base length percent, and other features.  Spine serrations totals above 100 indicate an open water ocean species (Dasyatis centroura and Pteroplatytrygon violacea, Aetobatis narinari); 70+ a midwater species (Dasyatis pastinaca,Pteromylaeus bovinus, Himantura uarnak, and Taeniura meyeni); 50+ near substrate inhabitant (Gymnura altavela, Myliobatis aquila, Dasyatis margarita); 25-50 substrate species (Taeniura grabata, Urogymnus ukpam); below 25 a freshwater species.  Insufficient data exists for Rhinoptera marginata and Mobula mobular. Significances of these results to ichthyologists and other fields will be discussed. 


Key words: Stingrays, tail spines, Dasyatis, Pteroplatytrygon, Aetobatis, Pteromylaeus, Himantura, Gymnura, Taeniura, Myliobatis, Urogymnus, eastern north Atlantic, Mediterranean, Black Sea


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