Urobatis jamaicensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Urotrygonidae

Scientific Name: Urobatis jamaicensis (Cuvier, 1816)
Common Name(s):
English Yellow Stingray
Urolophus jamaicensis (Cuvier, 1816)
Taxonomic Notes: The species was originally placed in the genus Urolophus, but was later moved by Garman (1913) into his newly erected genus Urobatis, which included all eastern Pacific and western North Atlantic round stingrays. The genus Urolophus is restricted to the stingarees found in the Indo-West Pacific. Both genera are frequently seen in the literature for western North Atlantic forms, but current research suggests that Urobatis is the correct genus (Ebert 2003). Urobatis is sometimes placed in the family Urolophidae, however this placement is incorrect and the family Urotrygonidae is valid (McEachran et al. 1996).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Piercy, A.N., Snelson Jr., F.F. & Grubbs, R.D.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M., Fowler, S.L., Compagno, L.J.V. & Cavanagh, R.D. (Shark Red List Authority)
A small (to 36 cm disc width) nearshore batoid of coastal zones, bays and estuaries with a wide distribution in the Western Atlantic from North Carolina around Florida into and throughout the Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean (including the Antilles), Central America and the northern coast of South America. It is common in parts of its range including the Florida Keys and areas of the Antilles. Bears litters of 2 to 5 pups and shallow coastal lagoons and seagrass beds are important for parturition. The yellow stingray is not targeted by commercial fisheries, but is likely taken as bycatch in nearshore fisheries throughout its range. However, it is collected for the marine aquarium trade and the extent of this harvesting requires examination. Although no catch information is available, the species is assessed as Least Concern given its wide-range, common occurrence in some areas and small size (and thus relatively productive biology). However, the continued vitality of the species will be reliant on healthy seagrass habitats, which are important for parturition.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Western Atlantic: from Cape Lookout, North Carolina around Florida into and throughout the Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean (including the Greater and Lesser Antilles), Central America and the northern coast of South America.
Countries occurrence:
Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Dominica; Dominican Republic; French Guiana; Grenada; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Mexico (Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatán); Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas); Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southwest
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This ray is common in the Florida Keys (Snelson, pers. obs.) and parts of the Antilles but in not thought to be abundant in most of its range (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953). It is reported that Terminos Lagoon, Bahía de Campeche, Mexico is a breeding and nursery area (Yáñez-Aranciba and Amezcua-Linares 1979).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Habitats include bays and estuaries and low-energy surf zones, especially in hard, live-bottom insular habitats, also sandy, muddy and grassy bottoms (McEachran and Fechhelm 1998, McEachran and Carvalho 2002, Snelson pers. obs.). Reported in a salinity range of 26 to 40 ppt in Mexico (Castro-Aguirre and Perez 1996). Parturition takes place in seagrass beds (Thallassis testudinum) June through August in the Bahamas (Grubbs unpublished data). Aplacental viviparous with litters of 2 to 5 (McEachran and Fechhelm 1998, Yáñez-Aranciba and Amezcua-Linares 1979).

Life history parameters
Age at maturity (years): Unknown.
Size at maturity (total length): 20 cm TL (Yáñez-Aranciba and Amezcua-Linares 1979) (female); 15 to 16 cm DW (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953), 20 cm TL (Yáñez-Aranciba and Amezcua-Linares 1979) (male).
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (total length): 36 cm DW; 70 cm TL (McEachran and Fechhelm 1998).
Size at birth: 6 cm DW (McEachran and Carvalho 2002).
Average reproductive age (years): Unknown.
Gestation time (months): Unknown.
Reproductive periodicity: Unknown.
Average annual fecundity or litter size: Range 2 to 5 (McEachran and Fechhelm 1998, Yáñez-Aranciba and Amezcua-Linares 1979).
Annual rate of population increase: Unknown.
Natural mortality: Unknown.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: aquarium use

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The yellow stingray is not targeted by commercial fisheries, but is likely taken as bycatch in nearshore fisheries throughout its range. Inshore fishing in some parts of its southern range may be intensive, but the extent of bycatch of this species is not known. It is, however, targeted for the aquarium trade. The extent of this fishery requires examination. Given their inshore occurrence, habitat loss may become an issue in the future for this species. This issue will become particularly relevant if seagrass habitats became degraded or lost, due to their importance for parturition.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None in place at present. The extent of the trade in this species for the aquarium requires examination.

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 U. jamaicensis.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.1. Marine Neritic - Pelagic
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.9. Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.4. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    

0. Root -> 100.1. OLD 1.1.1-Policy-base actions->Management plans->Development
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Anonymous. 2004. Report on the implementation of the UN FAO International Plan of Action for Sharks (IPOA–Sharks). AC20 Inf. 5. Twentieth meeting of the CITES Animals Committee, Johannesburg (South Africa), 29 March–2 April 2004.

Bigelow, H.B. and Schroeder, W.C. 1953. Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Part 2: Sawfishes, Guitarfishes, Skates and Rays; Chimaeroids. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Castro-Aguirre, J.L. and Perez, H.E. 1996. Listados Faunisticos de Mexico. VII. Catalogo sistematico de las rayas y especies afines de Mexico. Inst. de Biologia, Univ. Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.

IUCN. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group. Specialist Group website. Available at:

McEachran, J.D. and de Carvalho, M.R. 2002. Batoid fishes. In: K.E. Carpenter (ed). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Volume 1. Introduction, molluscs, crustaceans, hagfishes, sharks, batoid fishes and chimaeras. pp: 508–589. FAO Species Identification Guides for Fishery Purposes. FAO, Rome.

McEachran, J.D. and Fechhelm, J.D. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico, Volume 1: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin, USA.

McEachran, J.D., Dunn, K.A and Miyake, T. 1996. Interrelationships of the batoid fishes (Chondrichthyes: Batoidea). In: M.L.J. Stiassny, L.R. Parenti & G.D. Johnson (eds) Interrelatioships of Fishes pp: 63-84. Academic Press, New York.

Yáñez-Arancibia, A. and Amezcua-Linares, F. 1979. Ecologia de Urolophus jamaicensis (Cuvier) en laguna de terminos un sistema estuarino del sur del golf de Mexico (Pisces: Urolophidae). Anales del Centro de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. 6(2):123–136.

Citation: Piercy, A.N., Snelson Jr., F.F. & Grubbs, R.D. 2006. Urobatis jamaicensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T60109A12302769. . Downloaded on 20 June 2018.
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