- 1 Defining Features
- 2 Habitat and Range
- 3 Fisheries Conservation and Concern
- 4 Closest Relatives
- 5 Example Species in Chimaeriformes
- 6 Example Species in the Gulf of Maine
- 7 References
Myliobatiformes are named for the wide shape of their pectoral disc and trailing tips ('wings'). They have a distinctly protruding head and large eyes. These rays have a venomous spine at the base and has gray, tan, dark brown, or black coloring on top of its body.
Habitat and Range
Many species of ray are found within muddy and sandy bottom bays, rocky bottoms and kelp forests. Bat rays are limited to the eastern Pacific Ocean and are also found near the Galapagos Island. They are found in shallow waters ranging at depths from 1-46m. Rays are found in large schools with members of their own species but are sometimes just by themselves. Rays have been found to migrate toward warmer inshore water during the cooler times of the day, and deeper, cooler water during the warmer hours. On occasion, they will skim along the surface of the water for long periods of time.
Fisheries Conservation and Concern
Myliobatiformes species range throughout the IUCN's scale. Its predators consist of white sharks, sea lions and humans through sportfishing. There also are concerns about how the ever present harvesting of aquatic resources will affect these animals.
As seen on a cladogram, Myliobatiformes are most closely related to Rajiformes, or skates. They are next most closely related to Torpediniformes, or electric rays, and after that, Rhiniformes and Rhynchobatiformes, which are both orders of guitarfish.
Example Species in Chimaeriformes
Blotched Fantail Ray
Defining Features: The Blotched Fantail Ray can reach up to a 180 cm disk length and can live up to 28 or so years, with the average generational length being 21.5 years. These rays feed on a diet of crabs, small bottom dwelling fish, bivalves, and shrimp. As the name would suggest, the rays have a black and white mottled appearance from above with black spots on a whiter skin (almost like a Dalmatian).
Range & Habitat: Taeniurops meyeni is found along the coasts of East Africa to Southeast Asia to Australia. These rays live on the sand and around coral reefs. It has been found living at depths up to about 439 meters but typically is living at 20-60m. It is marine neritic.
IUCN Concern: This species is classified as Vulnerable with a decreasing population trend as it is often caught by fishermen and harvesting aquatic resources is taking a toll on its habitat.
Defining Features: Marbled Stingrays have a stunning, electric blue pattern marbled atop their skin, contrasting against their green and black skin. On the end of their tail are thorny hooks that carry venom, which can cause injury to humans. These rays can reach about 60cm. Their diet consists mainly of worms, fish, crabs, mantis shrimp, and amphipods.
Range & Habitat: The Marbled Stingray is found exclusively on the East African Coast, ranging from Mauritania down to Congo. These rays live on sandy and muddy substrates at depths from about 12-65 meters, close to shore and within bays.
IUCN Concern: There is not enough information on the population of Marbled Stingrays to determine concern, hence this species being labeled as Data Deficient. However, fishing and the harvesting of aquatic resources is still a threat to this species.
Example Species in the Gulf of Maine
American Cownose Ray
Defining Features: These rays come in a variety of colors such as off-white, a light gray, sandy tan, and dark brown. They have triangular wings and a rounded head that is pushed in in the front like the top of a heart. They also do posses a stinger, but are not likely to hurt humans unless handled roughly.
Range & Habitat: Cownose rays are found along the east coast in North and South America from Massachusetts in the US to Uruguay and Argentina. They also reside off of islands in the Caribbean. These rays are a largely migratory and travel in schools along the continental shelf. (Marine Neritic and Oceanic)
IUCN Concern: This species is classified as Vulnerable due to its decreasing population because it is often caught by fishermen and harvesting aquatic resources is taking a toll on its habitat.
IUCN Redlist: iucnredlist.org
Fish Base: fishbase.org
Florida Museum: Floridamuseum.ufl.edu