Sting ray

Distribution of the pelagic stingray, Dasyatis violacea (Bonaparte, 1832), off California, Central America, and Worldwide.

The Pelagic stingray, Dasyatis violacea (Bonaparte, 1832) is part of the family, Dasyatidae and is generally a small ray with a disc width (DW) of 80 cm. It is generally caught in the top 100m over deep water. It is usually caught as by-catch on longlines for swordfish and tuna. It was thought to occur only in the Mediterranean Sea. But has been found in nearly all tropical and subtropical seas, and also found at temperate latitudes. Gestation period of these stingrays is around eight weeks. Males tend to mature at smaller sizes roughly around 37.5cm DW while females matured at 50cm DW.

The first record of this stingray in Southern California waters was in autumn 1959, after nine years of supposedly subnormal water temperatures. The distribution off California was determined from by-catch of the California drift gill-net fishery for swordfish form 1990 to 1999 which was conducted around 32 degrees to 42 degrees North. The Seasonal and size distribution of stingrays in the eastern Pacific came from field data on 28 specimens in the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. These specimens were caught on research cruises between Central America and Baja California. The author of the attached article also included 65 rays caught on a shark-abundance cruise in the Southern California Bight, November 24, 1994. Apparently the California drift gill-net fishery for swordfish recorded pelagic stingrays being caught not only in southern California but also off central and Northern California, and also Oregon. A total of 178 stingrays were caught in this area and most of these were caught from August to January. Distribution of pelagic stingrays was found in North-central Pacific and from Australian and New Zealand waters. There were 608 rays caught as by-catch of longline for tuna in 1995-99.

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