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Spotted Stingrays, Urolophus
halleri, are members of the family Dasyatidae. This ray is endemic to
coastlines of southern North and Central America.
Breeding grounds range as far north as Eureka, California.
and as far south
Ray populations increase significantly south of Point Concept,
creatures in the world’s
oceans have the grace and elegance of the stingray in motion. Stingrays
prized possessions among the most elite saltwater aficionados for their
unmatched exoticism. The mere fact that the most famous sports car ever
produced in the United
was emblazoned with the insignia “stingray” for
almost a generation bears
testimonial to the sense of awe the name is meant to elicit.
California Spotted Stingray
has a nearly circular disc-shaped body. Its tail and body are
approximately the same length. A rounded snout blends into the unified
unit. Massive pectoral fins also merge seamlessly with the body. All
lack dorsal fins. This absence further accentuates their flat disk-like
spotted rays do, however, have rounded caudal fins. This feature is not
on most rays. The top of this species’ disc is grayish brown
Underbellies range from white, to pale yellow or even orange. The name
stingray bears reference to the spotting pattern adorning their upper
section. These spots may be blue, green, brown or grey ranging to
They may be solid dots or rings. Like most stingray, these rays have
barbs. Their barbs are located halfway down the length of their tails.
species is also market by the aquarium trade as California
rays or round stingrays.
stingrays are bottom
dwellers. They spend an exorbitant amount of time buried in the sand or
This provides natural camouflage while the ray awaits its next meal.
keeping a stingray in captivity a sand substrate is mandatory. Gravel,
or crushed coral can easily cause surface wounds and may result in
NEVER use copper based medications in an aquarium containing a ray. You
inadvertently kill it.
species can grow to almost
two feet in diameter. A minimum tank size of 200 gallons is
recommended. A fair
portion of the bottom surface should be dedicated to your
habit of burying itself. California
rays are rated as an aggressive species. This is primarily due to its
and predacious nature. Rays will flee form human intrusion if given the
opportunity. However, common sense should be applied when netting this
or performing routine maintenance on your aquarium. Keep in mind, you
dealing with a species that can cause you to make an unexpected trip to
emergency room for treatment.
acceptable community dwellers for multi-species aquariums. Their
are only used as a means of self-defense. They should only be housed
larger species to avoid predation. Do not house them with species that
aggressive enough to take to poking or prodding them out of general
Of course should this happen, it will probably not occur a second time.
are not suitable candidates for marine reef aquariums. They have two
their mouth designed for crushing the shells of crustaceans and
Introducing one to your marine reef habitat would be the equivalent to
it to an all you can eat buffet.
is a carnivorous species.
Because of their close proximity to the US
market, they should arrive in
better overall condition than their eastern cousins, the blue dot
Even so, they still carry an expert only rating. This rating is due in
their failure to acclimate to captivity. Stingrays are notorious for
reluctance to feed when introduced to captive surroundings. Live brine
shrimp may entice a ray to start feeding. Once it is feeding, you will
need to condition it to accept non-living food items. Frozen,
flake foods can be incrementally increase in proportion to live
After it is properly acclimated its diet can be further supplemented
chopped fish, squid, crustaceans and mollusks.
Stingray Breeding and Human
Interaction in Nature
season for the California
occurs between January and March. Unlike many marine species, it is the
who attracts the male for copulation. Sexually mature females emit
electrical fields from spiracles located behind their eyes. Although
these sensory fields will attract any mature adult in close proximity.
attracted, the male will typically latch onto the female with his mouth
her in place for the purpose of copulation. If a female is bitten on
anterior region of her disc she will not attempt to escape.
They give live birth. Their gestation period lasts
months. Litters range from 3-6 rays. A newborn ray is 2.5-3 inches in
This makes them easy targets for predation. Adult rays will remain with
young until they are old enough to better fend for themselves. Shallow
provides rich feeding grounds and protection form predators. One
stingray nursery is in Newport Dunes, Southern
in shallow waters invariably leads to human interaction. As previously
stingrays bury themselves in the sand. This means they are frequently
beach goers. In any given year, there are over 100 cases of people
after having accidentally stepped on a stingray.
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