Pteroplatytrygon violacea (Pelagic stingray)
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Pteroplatytrygon violacea (Pelagic stingray) [Illustration
by Ann Hecht ©]
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.
To 1.6 m TL
and 80 cm DW.
Southwestern coast, False Bay and Mossel Bay;
An anomaly among stingrays, lives
in the open ocean and well off the bottom, sometimes close inshore.
An agile swimmer, eats oceanic squid, crustaceans,
jellyfish, and small fishes, using its pectoral fins to manipulate
its prey to its mouth.
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