Dasyatis brevicaudata 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Dasyatidae

Scientific Name: Dasyatis brevicaudata
Species Authority: (Hutton, 1875)
Common Name(s):
English Short-tail Stingray, Smooth Stingray
Trygon brevicaudata Hutton, 1875
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. and Van der Laan, R. (eds). 2016. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 31 March 2016. Available at: (Accessed: 31 March 2016).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-02-17
Assessor(s): Duffy, C.A.J., Paul, L.J. & Chin, A.
Reviewer(s): Dulvy, N.K., Bigman, J.S. & Kyne, P.M.
Contributor(s): Kyne, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M., Walls, R.H.L., Simpfendorfer, C. & Chin, A.
The Short-tail Stingray (Dasyatis brevicaudata) is widespread and common to abundant in temperate areas of the southern hemisphere, recorded from New Zealand, Australia and southern Africa. It is a large stingray and although taken in a wide variety of fisheries, it is usually released or discarded. Standardized catch-per-unit-effort data from southern Australia show no trend in catches. It appears to have high post-release survival. In New Zealand, this species is prohibited as a commercial target species in quota management areas encompassing the core of its distribution. In January 2015, this species was listed as a protected species in the southwest regions of Western Australia due to its tourism values. This species is assessed as Least Concern owing to its wide distribution, abundance, and limited fisheries mortality.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has a disjunct distribution, occurring in New Zealand (including the Kermadec and Chatham Islands), southern Australia (southern Queensland to Shark Bay, Western Australia, including the waters of New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia), and southern Africa (South Africa and Mozambique) (Zambezi River to Cape Town) (Last and Stevens 2009).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia); Mozambique; New Zealand (Chatham Is., Kermadec Is., North Is., South Is.); South Africa
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):480
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Given the disjunct range, New Zealand, Australia and southern Africa likely support separate subpopulations. Standardized catch-per-unit-effort data from monitoring in the Australian Southern and Eastern Shark and Scalefish Fishery showed no trend between 2001 and 2006 in the Great Australian Bight and 2002 and 2006 off southeastern Australia (Walker and Gason 2007). 

In New Zealand, the species is rare at the Kermadec Islands and uncommon south of Cook Strait. Aggregations have been recorded from the Poor Knight's Islands in New Zealand, with increased abundance of adults, sub-adults, and mature females that bear mating scars, during the Austral spring and summer, and increased abundance of smaller (probably immature) animals during the Austral spring to autumn (Le Port et al. 2012). The Poor Knights Islands may be a mating site and nursery ground (Le Port et al. 2012).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Despite being common, little is known about this species due to confusion with other large Dasyatis species and a lack of research. It occurs in a wide variety of habitats including shallow coastal bays, estuaries, large inlets, coastal rocky reefs, offshore islands, the open sea floor, and occasionally near the surface over the outer shelf. It occurs to at least 150 m depth off Australia, to 200-250 m off New Zealand, and is common in 180 to 480 m off South Africa (Le Port et al. 2008, Last and Stevens 2009). During summer, large mid-water aggregations are found at several locations around the Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand which may be a mating and nursery ground (Le Port et al. 2012). Other ray species are known to aggregate and breed and at least one observation of mating has been made at Northern Arch. Limited data from tagging studies (two individuals) suggest that this species has high site attachment with movements <25 km, it may move from shallow to deeper waters during the winter months, and it may have vertical diel movements (Le Port et al. 2008).

This is one of the largest stingrays in the world, reaching up to at least 210 cm disc width (DW), 430 cm total length and may weigh up to 350 kg (Last and Stevens 2009). Individuals exceeding 150 cm DW are common in New Zealand waters, and there are reliable but unconfirmed reports of individuals approaching 300 cm DW. Size and age at maturity are unknown. Reproduction is viviparous (aplacental) with litters of 6-10 pups (Last and Stevens 2009). Size at birth is 32-36 cm disc width (DW) (Last and Stevens 2009). Gestation period and reproductive periodicity are unknown. Pupping and nursery areas are mostly unknown, although the species may seasonally aggregate at certain sites for mating and pupping, and may use specific nurseries (Le Port et al. 2012).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In Australia, this species is sometimes taken as bycatch and accounts for 4.3% of the catch in the commercial line sector of the New South Wales Ocean Trap and Line Fishery, with approximately 30% of landed rays retained by fishers (Macbeth et al. 2009). This fishery has seen significant increases in targeted effort and catch of sharks since the mid 2000s (Macbeth et al. 2009). It is a regular bycatch of the Australian Southern and Eastern Shark and Scalefish Fishery with a small amount (~5%) retained (Walker and Gason 2007). It is sometimes captured for aquaria, but this would be minimal given its large size.
This species is also the focus of tourism activities with SCUBA divers visiting aggregation sites in the Poor Knights Islands (New Zealand) (Le Port et al. 2012) and tourists viewing shallow water aggregations in Hamelin Bay, Western Australia.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is taken as bycatch in trawl, Danish seine, longline and purse seine fisheries, but is most often discarded, although small quantities are sold in Australia when caught as bycatch (Lamberth 2006, Last and Stevens 2009). This species is a minor bycatch component (4.3% of the elasmobranch catch) of the New South Wales commercial line fishery with approximately 30% of these rays being retained (Macbeth et al. 2009). The species is also taken as bycatch (7% of the elasmobranch catch) in the Southwest Longline fishery off Western Australia (Jones et al. 2010). An estimated 88.5 tonnes were caught annually in the Australian Southern and Eastern Shark and Scalefish Fishery between 2000 and 2006, of which ~5% was retained for market (Walker and Gason 2007). It is commonly taken by recreational line fishers, either by surfcasting or line fishing from boats and sometimes speared or harpooned for sport. It is often released but sometimes retained for their flesh, or for angling competitions. It is occasionally captured in beach meshing/shark control gear off South Africa. Commercial and recreational fishers regularly amputate stingrays' tails before releasing them to reduce the risk of injury. The relatively large number of Short-tail Stingrays seen by divers without tails suggests they survive capture and release well. A small number of rays are caught for exhibition in public aquaria.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In New Zealand, it is prohibited as a commercial target species in quota management areas (QMA) 1, 4 and 9. QMAs 1 and 9 represent the core of the species distribution in New Zealand. In January 2015, this species became a protected species within the West Coast and South Coast bioregions of Western Australia and can no longer be retained by fishers (Department of Fisheries 2015).

Citation: Duffy, C.A.J., Paul, L.J. & Chin, A. 2016. Dasyatis brevicaudata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41796A68618154. . Downloaded on 21 October 2016.
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