SOUTHERN STINGRAY

Hypanus americanus
Family: Dasyatidae

Description: Light brown, grey or olive coloration on the dorsal side with a white ventral side with some dusky margins. Snout forms a small triangular protuberance on a rhomboidal shaped body (disc). Irregular row of short spines along the center of the dorsal side from around the disc center to tail. Large spiracles located directly behind eyes. Unlike some other stingray species, southern stingrays do not have very noticeable tubercles or thorns along their tail.

Distribution and Habitat: Found along the eastern coast of North America, Central America, and South America in both the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Usually found on sandflats near seagrass beds and coral reefs between depths of 0-100 meters.

Size: Maximum size of 150 cm disc width (DW). Size at birth of 17-19 cm disc width.

Reproduction: Viviparous. Litter size of 2-10 pups after a gestation period of 5-8 months. Females reach sexual maturity at approximately 75 to 80 cm disc width while males reach maturity at 52 cm disc width.

Life span: Maximum recorded age of 17 years in the wild.

Diet: Crustaceans and teleosts.

IUCN Status: Near Threatened, Decreasing

Human Pressures: Caught as bycatch in commercial and artisanal fisheries by trammel nets, gillnets, beach seines and longlines. Interaction with tourism through food provisioning has caused behavioral shifts that interrupt diel behaviors, possibly exposing them to additional predatory risk. Habitat degradation of mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs pose a threat to this species.

SOUTHERN STINGRAY