The Bluespotted Stingray on Koh Tao
The bluespotted stingray, also known as the blue-spotted ribbontail ray (Taeniura lymma), is a species of stingray commonly found in the waters of Thailand, including popular diving spots around Koh Tao. I have seen them at White Rock and Twins, hiding under the rocks!
The blue-spotted stingray is a relatively small species compared to other stingrays, with a disc width ranging from about 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inches). They have a distinct round or oval-shaped disc with striking blue spots or rings spread across their dorsal surface, giving them their common name. The underside of the ray is usually white with some dark markings, and the tail is slender and whip-like, often sporting a black band near the tip.
Habitat and Distribution
These rays are typically found in shallow tropical waters, including coral reefs, sandy flats, and seagrass beds. Although Koh Tao doesn’t have any seagrass beds to speak of. They prefer warm waters with temperatures between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). Along the coasts of Thailand, particularly around Koh Tao and other islands in the Gulf of Thailand, bluespotted stingrays are frequently encountered by fun divers and snorkelers.
Behavior and Diet
Bluespotted stingrays are generally docile and non-aggressive unless provoked or threatened. They are nocturnal creatures, spending most of the day hiding in sandy or muddy areas, partially buried in the substrate to avoid predators. At night, they become more active, foraging for crustaceans, small fish, mollusks, and other invertebrates in the seafloor. If you do the night dive as part of the advanced course be sure to look out for their yellow eyes glowing in your torchlight.
Like other stingrays, the bluespotted stingray is ovoviviparous, meaning they give birth to live young. After internal fertilization, the embryos develop inside the mother’s body, and when fully developed, they are born as miniature replicas of the adults. A typical litter can consist of one to four pups. Although I’ve only ever seen one baby ray while diving here.
The bluespotted stingray is generally considered to be of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its relatively wide distribution and stable population. However, like many marine species, they face threats from habitat destruction, overfishing, and accidental capture in fishing gear. Sustainable tourism and responsible diving practices can play a significant role in minimizing human impact on their natural habitats.
Diving and Snorkeling with Bluespotted Stingrays
Koh Tao, being one of the most popular diving destinations in Thailand, offers ample opportunities to encounter bluespotted stingrays during diving and snorkeling excursions. Divers can observe them gliding gracefully across the sandy bottom, and snorkelers might spot them resting near coral reefs and one of our many dive sites.
Remember, while these creatures are usually not aggressive, it’s essential to approach them with caution and respect their space to avoid accidental stings. Responsible diving practices, such as maintaining a safe distance, good buoyancy control, and not touching or disturbing the marine life, are crucial for the well-being of both divers and the marine ecosystem.
Overall, the blue-spotted stingray is a captivating and fascinating marine species that adds to the beauty and biodiversity of Thailand’s underwater world, making encounters with these graceful creatures a memorable experience for divers and snorkelers alike.
Do you want to know more about a Koh Tao diving course? Feel free to contact us and one of our team of dive professionals will answer any questions quickly to see what scuba program is right for you. We have a variety of diving courses available with the SSI diving training organization.
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Exploring Koh Tao’s wonders.
Koh Tao Diving Courses
Below are some links to some of the most popular scuba diving courses.