Hypanus americanus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Myliobatiformes Dasyatidae

Scientific Name: Hypanus americanus (Hildebrand & Schroeder, 1928)
Common Name(s):
English Southern Stingray
French Pastenague Américaine
Spanish Raya Americana, Raya Chucho, Raya-látigo Americana
Dasyatis americana Hildebrand & Schroeder, 1928
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. and Van der Laan, R. (eds). 2016. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 29 September 2016. Available at: (Accessed: 29 September 2016).
Taxonomic Notes: The genus Hypanus formerly was a junior synonym of Dasyatis (Kottelat, 2013); it was resurrected by Last et al. (2016) in their revision of the family Dasyatidae.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2006-02-02
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Grubbs, R.D., Snelson, F.F., Piercy, A., Rosa, R. & Furtado, M.
This is an amended version of the 2006 assessment to accommodate the recent change in genus name from Dasyatis to Hypanus.

Hypanus americanus is a coastal marine and estuarine species with a wide distribution in the Western Atlantic south from New Jersey (USA), through the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, south to southeastern Brazil. It is associated with sand flats, seagrass beds and coral reefs at 0 to 53 m depth and is common to locally abundant in some regions. The species is taken as bycatch in various fisheries throughout its range and is harvested in some parts of South America. In some areas it is also an important ecotourism resource. The population appears healthy in the USA and, with no threats apparent, is assessed as Least Concern in that country. However, there is little information available on population trends and the impacts of fishing throughout the rest of its range and it is thus assessed as Data Deficient globally. Increasing artisanal fishing pressure in some regions of Brazil (which may mirror increases in other parts of South America) is of concern and catch monitoring in countries such as Brazil and Venezuela are a priority. Impacts on its inshore environment (including coral reefs) may also represent a threat.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:A coastal species that is widely distributed from New Jersey to Florida (USA), throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, and the Greater and Lesser Antilles, and bordering the northern coast of South America to southeastern Brazil. It is abundant in nearshore waters in the northeast Gulf of Mexico, especially along the west coast of Florida and is common during summer months in estuaries and coastal areas along the east coast of the U.S. It is common throughout most of the Greater and Lesser Antilles.

In Brazil known from Santos, São Paulo, Bahia, northward from Paraíba, Ceará, and Pará and Amapá (Figueiredo 1977, Rosa 1987, Cunningham 1989, Gadig and Rosa 1993, Queiroz et al. 1993a, Gadig et al. 2000, Menni and Stehmann 2000). Also reported from the Brazilian oceanic islands of Atol das Rocas (Rosa and Moura 1997) and Fernando de Noronha (Mendes and Moura 1999), and from the reefs of Parcel Manuel Luiz in Maranhão (Rocha and Rosa 2001).
Countries occurrence:
Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bermuda; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Dominica; Dominican Republic; French Guiana; Grenada; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; United States (Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia); Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – northwest
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is taken occasionally in the VIMS (Virginia Institute of Marine Science) longline survey off the USA, near the northern edge of its range, but no population trends are evident from 1996 to 2003 (J. Musick et al. unpublished data).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:A coastal marine and estuarine benthic species associated with sand flats, seagrass beds, and coral reefs at depths of 0 to 53 m. Commonly buries in soft sediments.

Litters of 2 to 10 pups are born at 17 to 34 cm disc width (DW), after a gestation of 4.5 to 7.5 months, and maturity is reached at 51 and 75 to 80 cm DW (males and females, respectively). Reproduction is biannual in captivity, annual in the wild. Maximum size is 150 cm DW (Henningsen 2000, McEachran and de Carvalho 2002, D. Grubbs and J. Musick unpublished data).

The diet of this species has been studied in the Bahamas (Randall 1967, Gilliam and Sullivan 1993), Brazil (Queiroz et al. 1993) and the eastern USA (D. Grubbs, unpublished data) and consists of benthic and infaunal invertebrates and demersal teleosts. The most common prey are decapod crustaceans such as alphaeid, penaeid and callianasid shrimp and brachyuran crabs.

Life history parameters
Age at maturity (years): Unknown.
Size at maturity (disc width): 75 to 80 cm DW (McEachran and de Carvalho 2002) (female); 51 cm DW (McEachran and de Carvalho 2002) (male).
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (disc width): 150 cm DW (McEachran and de Carvalho 2002).
Size at birth: 17 to 19 cm DW (McEachran and de Carvalho 2002, D. Grubbs and J. Musick unpublished data); mean 23.8 cm DW, range 20 to 34 cm DW (in captivity) (Henningsen 2000).
Average reproductive age (years): Unknown.
Gestation time: Mean 5.8 months; range 4.5 to 7.5 months (in captivity) (Henningsen 2000).
Reproductive periodicity: Biannual (in captivity) (Henningsen 2000); Annual (Florida and Virginia, USA) (D. Grubbs unpublished data).
Average annual fecundity or litter size: 2-7 (D. Grubbs and J. Musick unpublished data); mean 4.2, maximum 10 (in captivity) (Henningsen 2000).
Annual rate of population increase: Unknown.
Natural mortality: Unknown.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Caught as incidental bycatch with trammel nets, bottom trawls, and bottom longlines along the east coast of the USA. Most are released and mortality is probably low. Southern stingrays are harvested in parts of South America and fisheries exist in Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil. Increased artisanal fishing pressure in some regions of Brazil may warrant concern, including in the states of Ceará and Bahia (Buckup 2000, Gadig et al. 2000). In recent years, tours allowing tourists to swim with this species in shallow water have increased in popularity throughout the Caribbean. The impacts these operations may have (behavioral, ecological, etc.) are largely unknown. Indirect threats from impacts on reef areas.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None. The impact of increased harvests on populations in Brazil and Venezuela should be monitored and population studies undertaken. Protection of breeding and nursery areas in parts of South America may be necessary for the long-term survival of the species. The species has been considered Vulnerable in Rio de Janeiro Municipality, Brazil (Buckup et al. 2000).

The development and implementation of management plans (national and/or regional e.g., under the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks: IPOA-Sharks) are required to facilitate the conservation and sustainable management of all chondrichthyan species in the region. See Anon. (2004) for an update of progress made by nations in the range of H. americanus.

Citation: Grubbs, R.D., Snelson, F.F., Piercy, A., Rosa, R. & Furtado, M. 2016. Hypanus americanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T60149A104123038. . Downloaded on 18 September 2018.
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