Cortez Round Stingray (Urobatis maculates)
The Cortez Round Stingray is also known as the Spotted Round Stingray and Chocolate Chip Ray. It is found living in warm temperate waters off the Pacific coast of Mexico and Baja California, where they tend to inhabit shallow sandy areas near rock formations or reefs. Its natural habitats are shallow seas, subtidal aquatic beds, coral reefs, estuarine waters, intertidal marshes, and coastal saline lagoons.
Although similar to other stingrays, with its flattened body, but the expanded pectoral fins create a round disc shape and the tail is much shorter from other stingrays. They have a brown or grey smooth surface with dark blotchy patterns. They do have the long venomous spine like other stingrays for defense. Their venom is not fatal to humans, but the sting is extremely painful. These rays grow to about 14 inches in length (tail included) and 10 to 12 inches in diameter.
The Cortez, like other stingray species, will spend much time buried in mud or sand, only coming out when pursuing prey or disturbed. They are diurnal feeders that forage in the sand for a wide range of mollusks, crustaceans, shrimp, crabs, worms and other bottom dwelling invertebrates and small fish. They may use their pectoral fins and/or snout to dig out buried prey.
The Cortez Round Stingray are a threatened species due to habitat loss.
Information courtesy of wikipedia.org, arkive.org, aquariumdomain.com
Photo courtesy aquariumdomain.com