Pastinachus sephen (Forsskål, 1775)
Cowtail stingray
Pastinachus sephen
photo by Banks, I.

Family:  Dasyatidae (Stingrays)
Max. size:  183 cm WD (male/unsexed)
Environment:  reef-associated; depth range 0 - 60 m, amphidromous
Distribution:  Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea, Persian Gulf and South Africa to Micronesia, north to Japan, south to Melanesia and the Arafura Sea (Ref. 9819).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0-0. A large, plain, dark stingray with an angular snout and pectoral disc; tail long and broad-based, less than twice body length, and with no upper caudal finfold but with high lower caudal finfold- 2 to 3 times depth of tail but not reaching tail tip; no large thorns; 1 or 2 long stings on tail, further behind tail base than in most stingrays; unique hexagonal, high-crowned teeth (Ref. 5578). Dark brown or black dorsally without conspicuous markings, white ventrally (Ref. 5578). Tail black (Ref. 3263).
Biology:  Found in lagoons, reef flats, and reef faces (Ref. 12951). Also in rivers far from the sea (Ref. 5578). Feeds on bony fishes, worms, shrimp, and crabs (Ref. 12951). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). Adults are sometimes accompanied by remoras or members of the trevally family (Ref. 6871). Size at birth about 18 cm WD or larger (Ref. 6871). Flesh utilized as food and skin used for polishing wood (Ref. 4832). Possibly caught by sports anglers (Ref. 5578). Recently there is a targeted fishery on this species for its skin, which is used as 'shagreen' in fashion accessories, from wallets to fancy pens; as a result, the species is in danger of disappearance (IHT 26.11.2005, p.5). Maximum length about 300 cm TL (Ref. 30573).
IUCN Red List Status: Near Threatened (NT); Date assessed: 07 February 2017 (A2d+3d) Ref. (120744)
Threat to humans:  venomous
Country info:   
 

Entered by: Sa-a, Pascualita - 12.08.93
Modified by: Froese, Rainer - 12.09.06
Checked by: Garilao, Cristina V. - 25.10.95

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