The Blotched Fantail Ray is widespread along the Great Barrier Reef and has a distinctive disc shape, colour pattern and a ventral skin fold on its tail. Although it is not generally aggressive by nature it has been responsible for at least one human fatality.
The Blotched Fantail Ray has a roughly circular-shaped disc that has a mottled black and white pattern on the upper surface. There are no thorns on on the disk. When undamaged, the depressed tail is slightly longer than the disk. It has a prominent skin fold that extends to the tail tip.
The Blotched Fantail Ray is commonly confused with another bull ray, the Cowtail Stingray. The difference being the colouration and the Cowtail Stingrays slightly pointed disc shape.
The Blotched Fantail Ray is a bottom dwelling species that can be found in inshore and coral reef waters usually on sandy substrates.
It occurs widely in the Indo-west and central Pacific Oceans. In Australia it is known from the central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and south on the east coast as far as northern New South Wales and Lord Howe Island.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Danger to humans
The species is not generally aggressive but is responsible for at least one human fatality.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.
- Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific: New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. University of Hawai’i Press. Pp. 584.