The Oceania Fantail Ray (Taeniura lessoni) is fairly new… and by that we mean that it was recently recognised as different from the Blue-spotted Fantail Ray (T. lymma)! Like, 2016. Amazing, right?!
The mix-up happened for several reasons, but mainly because the Blue-spotted Fantail Ray (T. lymma) has a large range in the Indo-West Pacific. Meanwhile, the Oceania Fantail Ray is more restricted and seen in Melanesia (in the Western Central Pacific), Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji.
This is a small stingray, reaching up to at least 22 cm disc width! The Oceania Fantail Ray is found in shallow water environments like coral reefs, but are also seen in deeper waters (at least 18 m depth). Some believe that these #flatsharks taken by local artisanal fisheries in Melanesia, but further surveys need to be carried out to know the level of pressure this puts on the species. They may also be susceptible to habitat-level threats facing coral reef environments in the Pacific, such as habitat degradation/destruction, climate change, etc.
Further information is needed before the IUCN can assess them beyond Data Deficient (DD).
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THIS ANIMAL?
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
SEARCH BY CATEGORIES