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. 2019, Urolophus cruciatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Apr 2021,

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 off Tasmania.

Banded Stingarees inhabit coastal waters, often on muddy or sandy bottoms, and rocky areas near the entrance to bays and estuaries, in 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.


Carnivore - forages for small invertebrates such as crustaceans and polychaete worms that live on or are buried in the bottom. 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.


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.


Common stingarees are taken as bycatch in otter trawls and gillnets in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF).


  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • 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.

    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. 2019

    Banded Stingaree, Urolophus cruciatus (Lacépède 1804)


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    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37038002

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Danger:Venomous spine on tail

    Depth:To 210 m

    Habitat:Muddy & sandy bottoms, rocky areas

    Max Size:50 cm TL


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