Taeniurops meyeni 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Myliobatiformes Dasyatidae

Scientific Name: Taeniurops meyeni (Müller & Henle, 1841)
Common Name(s):
English Blotched Fantail Ray, Black-blotched Stingray, Black-spotted Stingray, Fantail Stingray, Giant Reef Ray, Round Ribbontail Ray, Speckled Stingray
French Pastenague Eventail
Taeniura melanospilos Bleeker, 1853
Taeniura meyeni Müller & Henle, 1841
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. and Fricke, R. (eds). 2015. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 1 October 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 1 October 2015).
Taxonomic Notes: Some authors have placed the genus Taeniura in the family Potamotrygonidae, however, it is generally accepted to belong in the family Dasyatidae.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2d ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-05-14
Assessor(s): Kyne, P.M. & White, W.T.
Reviewer(s): Walls, R.H.L. & Dulvy, N.K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M. & Walls, R.H.L.
The Blotched Fantail Ray (Taeniurops meyeni) is a large (up to 180 cm disc width), widely distributed, Indo-West Pacific stingray associated with coral reef and sandy habitats. It is found inshore to a depth of 439 m. Little is known of its biology, although litter size is known to be small (up to seven young). There is also little specific information on threats and catches in fisheries throughout much of the species' range, but given the intense and unregulated fishing pressure known to exist on large batoid species across much of its range, particularly in Southeast Asia, the particular sensitivity of this species to various fishing methods, its limiting life history characteristics, and the general declining health of coral reef ecosystems (its main habitat) throughout its Indo-West Pacific distribution, the species is inferred to have undergone a decline in population size of at least 30% over the past three generations (65 years), and is therefore assessed globally as Vulnerable (VU A2d).

In Australia, this species is considered Least Concern due to protection afforded in marine parks and the effective use of turtle exclusion devices in northern Australian prawn trawl fisheries, which should limit the catch of the species there. Similarly, it is assessed as Least Concern in the Maldives where it has a high ecotourism value and is thus afforded protection through the prohibition of the export of rays and ray products.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Blotched Fantail Ray has a wide Indo-West Pacific distribution including East Africa, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, India, Southeast Asia, China, southern Japan, northern Australia and western Pacific islands (Last and Stevens 2009).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia); Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; Cook Islands; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Japan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Madagascar; Malaysia; Mauritius; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar; New Caledonia; Oman; Pakistan; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Qatar; Réunion; Saudi Arabia; Seychelles; Singapore; Somalia; South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal); Sri Lanka; Sudan; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; United Arab Emirates; Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):439
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Nothing is known of the current population size or structure, nor of the degree of connectivity across subpopulations across this ray's wider distribution.

The species is inferred to have undergone a population size reduction of at least 30% across its global range over the past 65 years (three generations), based on the intense and unregulated fishing pressure known to exist on large batoid species across much of the Blotched Fantail Ray's range (particularly in Southeast Asia - see the Threats section below), the sensitivity of this species to various fishing methods, and the general declining health of coral reef ecosystems (its main habitat) throughout its Indo-West Pacific distribution.

Globally, shark and ray landings have declined by at least 20% since 2003, but the Indo-Pacific is amongst the regions where this decline has been more severe (Dulvy et al. 2014). Catches of sharks and rays in Southeast Asia are very high but are declining and fishers are travelling much further from port in order to increase catches (Chen 1996). Net and trawl fisheries in Indonesia (especially the Java Sea) and elsewhere are very extensive and as a result, many shark and ray species are highly exploited and stocks of most species have declined by at least an order of magnitude (Blaber et al. 2009). Batoids are heavily exploited (White and Dharmadi 2007) and datasets from as early as 1963–1972 show the considerable decline in batoids in the Gulf of Thailand (Pauly 1979). Trawl and gill net fisheries are also moving further afield. For example, in Jakarta the gillnet fishery at Muara Baru travels to waters around Kalimantan due to the decline in local populations (W.T. White, unpubl. data). While species-specific data on long-term declines in elasmobranchs in the Southeast Asian region are lacking, declines of the Blotched Fantail Ray in Southeast Asia and elsewhere in the Indo-West Pacific are inferred given the widespread historical and continuing declines of demersal fisheries in this region (Stobutzki et al. 2006). Furthermore, the extensive loss and degradation of habitats such as coastal mangroves are another key threat to coastal and inshore species; Southeast Asia has seen an estimated 30% reduction in mangrove area since 1980 (FAO 2007, Polidoro et al. 2010).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Blotched Fantail Ray is benthic around coral reef habitats and on sand substrates, from the surf zone offshore to 439 m depth (Compagno et al. 1989, Last and Compagno 1999). It reaches a maximum size of 180 cm disc width (DW) (Last and Stevens 2009). Males mature at 100-110 cm DW (W. White, unpubl. data); size at birth is 30-35 cm DW (Last and Stevens 2009). It is a viviparous species, with reported litter size of up to seven young (Compagno et al. 1989). Age data are not available, but generation length can be estimated using data from another large dasyatid, the Brown Stingray (Dasyatis lata), females of which mature at 15 years and reach 28 years (Dale and Holland 2012), giving an estimated generation length of 21.5 years.
Generation Length (years):21.5

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is utilized for its meat and cartilage (White et al. 2006).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Blotched Fantail Ray is caught by line gear and trawl throughout its range. Throughout Southeast Asia there is significant fishing pressure on large batoids, and whether targeted or taken as bycatch, all are landed and utilized. For example, in Indonesia (see White and Dharmadi 2007) the Blotched Fantail Ray is regularly taken in low numbers by tangle netters operating out of Jakarta (Java), Bali and Merauke (West Papua), while demersal longliners that operate out of Lombok and large pair trawlers operating out of Merauke irregularly take adults. The latter fishery has consisted of some 650 vessels and pressure is intense where the vessels operate in the Arafura Sea. Low numbers of juveniles are also taken by prawn and fish trawlers around Indonesia, particularly in the Java Sea.

A prawn trawl fishery consisting of about nine vessels operates in the Gulf of Papua in southern Papua New Guinea. Detailed species composition data for the bycatch is not currently available, but this is currently being investigated (L. Baje, National Fisheries Authority, pers. comm., February 2015).

Overall, fishing pressure is significant (and generally unregulated) over most of the species' distribution throughout Asia and across its Indian Ocean range (India, East Africa, etc.). Additional pressure exists on its habitat in that region due to destructive fishing practices (dynamite fishing) and run-off affecting coral reef systems, the main habitat of the species.

In Australia, the species is a discarded bycatch in demersal prawn trawl fisheries. In the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF), the Blotched Fantail Ray had a mean catch rate of 0.4 individuals/km² and was classified as amongst the least sustainable elasmobranch bycatch species in the fishery (this assessment combines the species' susceptibility to capture and mortality due to trawling, and the capacity of the species to recover after depletion by trawling) (Stobutzki et al. 2002). The mandatory use of turtle exclusions devices (TEDs) in prawn trawl fisheries operating off northern Australia (including the NPF and the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery) should limit the catch of this species in these fisheries.

The Blotched Fantail Ray is taken by recreational surf and ski-boat anglers off South Africa, but is apparently released unharmed (Compagno et al. 1989). It is also a bycatch of offshore trawlers off southern Africa (Compagno et al. 1989). Details of catches elsewhere in its range are lacking.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Blotched Fantail Ray is afforded protection in some regions in marine protected areas. These include the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia, and in marine reserves created around diving sites in the Maldives in recognition of the high value of sharks and rays to tourism (Anderson and Waheed 2001). The Maldives banned the export of rays in 1995 and the export of ray skins in 1996. Again, this was to protect the tourism resource (Anderson and Waheed 2001).

The Gulf of Papua prawn trawl fishery is managed under national laws and regulations (Papua New Guinea), and there are some seasonal closures in place; although bycatch reduction devices are not currently in place, there are plans to implement in the near future (L. Baje, National Fisheries Authority, pers. comm., February 2015).

Batoids cannot be retained in northern Australian prawn trawl fisheries and this species is therefore discarded if caught. The use of turtle exclusion devices will be effective at reducing catches of at least large individuals (see Brewer et al. 2006).

The recreational line fishery in South Africa is managed by a bag limit of one species per person per day for unspecified chondrichthyans, which includes the Blotched Fantail Ray.

Citation: Kyne, P.M. & White, W.T. 2015. Taeniurops meyeni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T60162A68646736. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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