Farewell (for now) to the short tailed stingrays

This my the final video (for now) of short tailed stingrays (Dasyatis brevicaudata) swimming under the boat on a sunny February day in between dives.

The IUCN Red List has these rays as of “least concern”, but they are protected in Western Australia because of their tourism value. There are locations in this region where tame stingrays interact with visitors; much like the rays at Struisbaai harbour.

More stingrays under the boat

We spent quite a bit of time with the short tailed stingrays (Dasyatis brevicaudata) between dives this past summer. Here’s another short video of one under the boat in shallow water.

These rays can grow to over two metres in diameter and weigh a few hundred kilograms at their maximum. They are a popular target for fishermen.

Stingray in the sunshine

Here’s another view of one of the short tailed stingrays (Dasyatis brevicaudata) in the sunshine last month. Surprisingly little is known about these animals. They’ve been studied in Australia and New Zealand where they are also found, but not much work has been done to learn about them here.

If you have watched the original BBC Blue Planet series (if you haven’t, why not?) you will have seen the massive aggregations of these rays that form at the Poor Knights Islands off New Zealand. I wonder if there are any similar aggregations off the South African coast that we don’t know about?

Watching stingrays from the boat

We visited this beautiful short tailed stingray (Dasyatis brevicaudata) near Millers Point between dives one day in mid February. They’re commonly seen during the summer months, when water temperatures in False Bay are between 16 and 22 degrees celsius.

I find them to be more curious about the boat than they are when we see them during dives. Then, they’re most often resting or eating on the sand, and after a short time they swim away.