Banded Stingaree, Urolophus cruciatus (Lacépède 1804)

Other Names: Crossback Stingaree, Cross-back Stingaree, Crossbacked Stingaree, Cross-backed Stingaree

A Banded Stingaree, Urolophus cruciatus. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved


A grey to yellowish-brown stingaree with distinctive pattern of dark bars, stripes and blotches, including a mask-like bar near the eyes. 

Banded Stingarees are usually inactive during the day, and often remain partially buried in sand. Care must be taken when encountering this species as the venomous serrated spine on the tail can inflict an excruciatingly painful injury. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Urolophus cruciatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Jul 2024,

Banded Stingaree, Urolophus cruciatus (Lacépède 1804)

More Info


Endemic to temperate waters of southeastern Australia, from off Jervis Bay, New South Wales, to about Robe, South Australia, throughout Bass Strait, and around Tasmania.

Inhabits muddy and sandy areas in bays, large estuaries and coastal waters at depths to 210 m.

The Banded Stingaree is the most common stingaree in Tasmanian waters, where it occurs in very shallow estuarine waters - and may been seen in very large aggregations. In Victoria, Banded Stingarees are more common in depths below 100 m, and are rarely seen above 25 m.


Disc smooth, almost circular to oval, slightly wider than long, with a widely triangular fleshy snout; tail short; caudal fin short; dorsal fin absent. Body flattened, disc-like with a short tapering tail, a single prominent serrated spine, a short caudal fin and no dorsal fin.


To 50 cm.


Upper surface greyish to yellowish-brown with an intricate pattern of dark bars, stripes and blotches; a dark stripe along middle of disc from behind the eyes to the serrated spine on tail; mouth with many small teeth on the pale underside.


Feeds mostly on benthic crustaceans, and also on polychaete worms. Juveniles and small adults tend to feed on small crustaceans such as isopods, amphipods and shrimps, and gradually move to larger prey as they grow.


Males mature at ~31.5 cm TL; females at 32 cm TL; both sexes mature ~6 years of age; reproduction is biennial; size at birth is ~13 cm TL; fecundity is low (1-4 pups/litter).

Stingarees are aplacental viviparous, meaning that the embryos emerge from eggs within the uterus and undergo further development until they are born. After emerging from their egg cases, the embryos are initially sustained by their yolk, and later by histotroph, a "uterine milk" produced by the mother. 

Females give birth to up to four pups every second year, following a gestation period of about 6 months. Birthing often occurs in large estuaries such as the Derwent River in Tasmania.


Taken as bycatch in otter trawls and gillnets in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF).


  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern
  • Remarks

    The serrated spine is venomous and can inflict a very painful wound. Common stingarees must be handled with great care. People often get secondary infections from being stung, especially when the barb tip breaks off in the wound.

    Similar Species

    The Banded Stingaree, Urolophus cruciatus, differs from the similar Kapala Stinagree Urolophus kapalensis, in having the dark stripe along the midline extending to the front of the eyes, while the dark stripe of the Kapala Stingaree only extends to behind the eyes.


    The specific name is from the Latin cruciatus (cruciform, marked by a cross) in reference to the dark cross-like pattern on upper side.

    Species Citation

    Raja cruciata Lacépède, 1804, Ann. Mus. Nat. d'Hist. Nat. 4: 210, pl. 55(2). Type locality: Australia (as New Holland).


    Bray, D.J. 2021


    Atlas of Living Australia

    Banded Stingaree, Urolophus cruciatus (Lacépède 1804)


    Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

    Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds) 2008. Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

    Graham, K.J., Andrew, N.L. & Hodgson, K.E. 2001. Changes in the relative abundances of sharks and rays on Australian South East Fishery trawl grounds after twenty years of fishing. Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 52: 549-561.

    Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

    Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

    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.

    Kyne, P.M. & Treloar, M.A. 2019. Urolophus cruciatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T60090A68649223. Downloaded on 13 June 2021.

    Lacépède, B.G.E. 1804. Mémoire sur plusieurs animaux de la Nouvelle-Hollande dont la description n'a pas encore été publiée. Annales du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris 4: 184-211 pls 55-58 See ref at BHL

    Last, P.R. & Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Urolophidae. pp. 172-181 figs 150-159 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs

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

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

    Last, P.R., Yearsley, G.K. & White, W.T. 2016. Family Urolophidae pp. 676-705. In: Last, P.R., White, W.T., de Carvalho, M.R., Séret, B., Stehmann, M.F.W. & & Naylor, G.J.P. (eds) Rays of the World. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing, 800 pp.

    Richardson, J. 1845. Ichthyology. 17-52 pls 7-8 (parts), 11-30 in Richardson, J. & Gray, J.E. (eds). The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror under the Command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, R.N., F.R.S., during the years 1839–43. London : E.W. Janson Vol. 2 139 pp. pls 1-60. (described as Urolophus ephippiatus) See ref online

    Stead, D.G. 1963. Sharks and Rays of Australian Seas. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 211 pp. 63 figs

    Treloar, M. & L. Laurenson. 2005. Preliminary observations on the reproduction, growth and diet of Urolophus cruciatus (Lacépéde) and Urolophus expansus, McCulloch (Urolophidae) in Southeastern Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 117(2): 341–347. See ref at BHL

    Trinnie, F.I. 2003. Demographic biology of Urolophus paucimaculatus, Trygonoptera sp B, U. cruciatusU. expansus and U. bucculentus (Batiodea: Urolophidae) in South-Eastern Australia. B.Sc. (Honours) Thesis. Deakin University, Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia.

    Trinnie, F.I., Walker, T.I., Jones, P.L. & Laurenson, L.J.B. 2016. Reproductive cycle of Urolophus cruciatus in south-eastern Australia: Does the species exhibit obligate or facultative diapause? Marine Biology 163: 226.

    Waite, E.R. 1899. Scientific results of the trawling expedition of H.M.C.S. 'Thetis'. Memoir, Australian Museum, Sydney 4: 3–128.

    Walker, T.I. & Gason, A.S. 2007. Shark and other chondrichthyan byproduct and bycatch estimation in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. Final report to Fisheries and Research Development Corporation Project No. 2001/007. July 2007. vi + 182 pp. Primary Industries Research Victoria, Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia.

    Yearsley, G.K. & Last, P.R. 2006. Urolophus kapalensis sp. nov., a new stingaree (Myliobatiformes: Urolophidae) off eastern Australia. Zootaxa 1176: 41-52

    Yick, J.L., Tracey, S.R. & White, R.W.G. 2011. Niche overlap and trophic resource partitioning of two sympatric batoids co‐inhabiting an estuarine system in southeast Australia. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 27(5): 1272-1277

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37038002

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Danger:Venomous spine on tail

    Depth:1-210 m

    Habitat:Muddy & sandy areas

    Max Size:50 cm TL


    Species Image Gallery

    Species Maps

    CAAB distribution map