Smooth Stingray

Dasyatis brevicaudata
Image by Taso Viglas.

The smooth stingray, or short-tail stingray, is the largest of all Australian stingrays (dasyatidae family).

It grows to 4.3 metres in length,  has a 2 metre disc width and a weigh up to 350 kg. The smooth stingray has a relatively short tail, less than 1.2 times the disc length. This gives the fish its species name, brevicaudata, which comes from the Latin brevis, meaning ‘short’, and cauda meaning ‘tail’.

The smooth stingray is not aggressive and is easily observed by divers. It usually has one venomous spine (the sting) halfway along the tail which is capable of inflicting severe or potentially fatal wounds. This species is sometimes observed raising its tail above its back like a scorpion.

The smooth stingray is a bottom-dwelling species which is recorded from temperate waters of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. In Australia it occurs from southern Queensland, around the south of the country, and north to the central coast of Western Australia. It lives in coastal waters and estuaries from shallow water down to about 170 metres.