To see photographs of the Cowtail Stingray (Pastinachus
sephen) click here.
Cowtail Stingray (Pastinachus sephen)
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© 2014 Kelvin Aitken.
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Taxonomic name: Pastinachus sephen
Other Common Names: Banana-tail Ray, Cowtail Ray, Drab Stingray, Frantail Ray, Fantail Stingray, Fantailed Stingray, Fantailed Ray, Gundurru.
Cowtail Stingrays are large rays found in tropical waters across the
north of Australia. They grow to a maximum size of nearly 2 m and are
common on reefs, usually seen resting in caves or deep ledges on sand.
They are a uniform dark grey to black with a very long tapering tail,
the underside of which has a a long narrow flap or banner
of skin that starts beneath the single barbed spine and ends before the
whip-like tip, which is sometimes missing on older animals.
While it may enter fresh water at times, the Cowtail Stingray (Pastinachus
sephen) is usually found in sandy areas around coral reefs where it forages
for crabs, small fish, worms and shellsed invertebrates which it crushes
in its plate-like teeth. It will usually sit quietly when approached by
divers or may even swim in for a close look. Although it is considered
harmless, care should be taken of its large barbed spine.