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the web of life in southern Africa

Pteroplatytrygon violacea (Pelagic stingray)

(Bonaparte, 1834)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Chondrichthyes > Elasmobranchii > Batoidei >  Myliobatoidei > Dasyatidae

Pteroplatytrygon violacea (Pelagic stingray) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]

Identification

A dark thick stingray, uniformly purplish-violet or dark blue-green on both surfaces. Snout broadly rounded but pectoral disk angular, eyes not protruding from head (unlike other stingrays, which have froglike periscopic eyes), tail less than twice body length and with a long lower caudal finfold that ends far in front of tail tip but no upper fold. Disk without thorns, usually one extremely long sting on tail.

Size

To 1.6 m TL and 80 cm DW.

Range

Southwestern coast, False Bay and Mossel Bay; virtually circumglobal.

 

Habitat

An anomaly among stingrays, lives in the open ocean and well off the bottom, sometimes close inshore.

Biology

An agile swimmer, eats oceanic squid, crustaceans, jellyfish, and small fishes, using its pectoral fins to manipulate its prey to its mouth.

Human Impact

Rarely caught except by longline vessels, once caught by an angler in False Bay.

Text by Leonard J.V. Compagno, David A. Ebert and Malcolm J. Smale