Blotched Fantail Ray, Taeniurops meyeni Müller & Henle 1841

Other Names: Black-blotched Stingray, Black-spotted Stingray, Giant Reef Ray, Round Ribbontail Ray, Round Ribbontail Ray

A Blotched Fantail Ray, Taeniurops meyeni, in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji. Source: Nick Hobgood / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A large almost circular stingray with a distinctive light and dark mottled pattern on the upperside, and a prominent deep ventral skin fold that extends to the tip of the black tail.

The venomous spines on the tail of the Blotched Fantail Ray species can cause a severe and painful injury. The species is responsible for at least one human fatality (Steve Irwin) due to a stab wound from the serrated spines on the tail. While not usually aggressive, Blotched Fantail Rays should be treated with respect and great caution. 

Great video of a Blotched Fantail Ray on the Gold coast Seaway - filmed by Ian Banks.

Blotched Fantail Rays in the Maldives.

A female Blotched Fantail Ray

A Blotched Fantail Ray taking off at Tubbataha Reef.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Taeniurops meyeni in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Jun 2019,

Blotched Fantail Ray, Taeniurops meyeni Müller & Henle 1841

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, to northern New South Wales; also occurs at Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea, and at Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. The species is widespread on the Great Barrier Reef. 

Elsewhere, the Blotched Fantail Ray is found in the tropical Indo-Pacific. Inhabits sandy and rubble bottoms around coral reefs and in deeper offshore waters.


Blackish to grey above with white blotches and spots; disc margin and underside white.


Carnivore - feeds on benthic fishes and invertebrates such as crabs, shrimps and bivalve molluscs.


Reproductive mode - aplacental viviparous, meaning that the embryos are initially sustained by yolk, then by a special "uterine milk" called histotroph. Females give birth to small litters of up to 7 pups that measure on average 35 cm DW and 67 cm TL when born. Little else is known of the biology of this species.

When threatened, the Blotched Fantail Ray raises its tail over its back with the spine facing forward.


Targeted and taken as bycatch in commercial fishing operations, and consumed in parts of its range. Juveniles are caught and discarded as bycatch in prawn trawl fisheries in northern Australia.


The Blotched Fantail Ray was previously referred to as Taeniura meyeni in Australia.

Similar Species

Often confused with the Cowtail Stingray, Pastinachus atrus which is uniform in colour, has a slightly pointed snout, the disc wider than long with a dense band of blunt denticles over the centre.

Species Citation

Taeniura meyeni Müller & Henle, 1841, System. Beschreib. Plagiost.: 172, pl. 55. Type locality: Mauritius.


Dianne J. Bray

Blotched Fantail Ray, Taeniurops meyeni Müller & Henle 1841


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. (as Taeniura meyeni)

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. (as Taeniura melanospilos)

Coleman, N. 1981. Australian Sea Fishes North of 30°S. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 297 pp. (as Taeniura melanospilos)

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2  (as Taeniura meyeni)

Hobbs, J.-P.A., Ayling, A.M., Choat, J.H., Gilligan, J.J., McDonald, C.A., Neilson, J. & Newman, S.J. 2010. New records of marine fishes illustrate the biogeographic importance of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Zootaxa 2422: 63–68.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) (as Taeniura meyeni)

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. (as Taeniura meyeni)

Kyne, P.M. & White, W.T. 2006. Taeniurops meyeni. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 19 January 2014. 

Last, P.R. & Compagno, L.J.V. 1999. Family Dasyatidae. pp. 1479-1505 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.  (as Taeniura meyeni)

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls.  (as Taeniura meyeni)

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

Macleay, W.J. 1883. Notes on a collection of fishes from the Burdekin and Mary Rivers, Queensland. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 8(2): 199-213.

Müller, J. & Henle, F.G.J. 1841. Systematische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen. Berlin : Veit & Co. pp. 103-200 pls. 

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. 584 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. (as Taeniura melanospila)

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Stobutzki, I.C., Miller, M.J., Heales, D.S. & Brewer, D.T. 2002. Sustainability of elasmobranches caught as bycatch in a tropical prawn (shrimp) trawl fishery. Fishery Bulletin 100: 800-821.

Whitley, G.P. 1940. The Fishes of Australia. Part 1. The sharks, rays, devil-fish, and other primitive fishes of Australia and New Zealand. Sydney : Roy. Zool. Soc. N.S.W. 280 pp. 303 figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37035017

Biology:Live bearer

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern (Australia); Vulnerable elsewhere

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:5-40 m (reported to 439 m)

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy bottoms

Max Size:180 cm DW; 330 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map