Preliminary evidence of a potential reproductive aggregation area of the common stingray Dasyatis pastinaca (Linnaeus, 1758) (Chondrichthyes – Dasyatidae) in the Central Mediterranean Sea

Published: Nov 21, 2023
Batoid aggregation reproductive area scuba diving small-scale fishery Strait of Messina

Shallow and coastal aggregations of batoids are poorly documented in the Mediterranean Sea, despite being likely threatened by multiple anthropogenic pressures. We report the first observations of a potential summer reproductive aggregation of the common stingray (Dasyatis pastinaca). The recurrent presence in previous years of several pregnant females, a mature male and a female with fresh bite wounds was recorded in shallow waters by recreational scuba divers and scientists in Scilla Bay (Strait of Messina, Italy), a location with unique oceanographic features in the Central Mediterranean Sea. These observations suggest that the area could be used as a parturition and mating site in early summer, and this is significant for the conservation of this Vulnerable species.

Article Details
  • Section
  • Short Communication
Download data is not yet available.
Aschliman, N.C., Nishida, M., Miya, M., Inoue, J.G., Rosana, K.M. et al., 2012. Body plan convergence in the evolution of skates and rays (Chondrichthyes: Batoidea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 63 (1), 28-42.
Bargnesi, F., Moro, S., Leone, A., Giovos, I., Ferretti, F., 2022. New technologies can support data collection on endangered shark species in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 689, 57-76.
Barone, M., Mazzoldi, C., Serena, F., 2022. Sharks, rays and chimaeras in Mediterranean and Black Seas – Key to identification. Rome, FAO.
Bottari, T., Busalacchi, B., Profeta, A., Mancuso, M., Giordano, D. et al., 2014. Elasmobranch distribution and assemblages in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea (Central Mediterranean). Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development, 5 (2), 1.
Bräutigam, A., Callow, M., Campbell, I. R., 2016. Global priorities for conserving sharks and rays: a 2015-2025 strategy.
Bradaï, M.N., Saidï, B., Enajjar, S., Bouaïn, A., 2006. The Gulf of Gabès: A spot for the Mediterranean Elasmobranchs. Workshop on Mediterranean cartilaginous fishes with emphasis on southern and eastern Mediterranean, 14-16 October 2006. Ataköy-Marina: Istanbul/Turkey. pp. 107-117.
Canese, S., Cardinali, A., Romeo, T., Giusti, M., Salvati, E. et al., 2011. Diving behavior of the giant devil ray in the Mediterranean Sea. Endangered Species Research, 14 (2), 171-176.
Cattano, C., Turco, G., Di Lorenzo, M., Gristina, M., Visconti, G. et al., 2021. Sandbar shark aggregation in the central Mediterranean Sea and potential effects of tourism. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 31 (6), 1420-1428.
Cattano, C., Calò, A., Aglieri, G., Cattano, P., Di Lorenzo, M. et al., 2023. Literature, social media and questionnaire surveys identify relevant conservation areas for Carcharhinus species in the Mediterranean Sea. Biological Conservation, 277, 109824.
Chaikin, S., Belmaker, J., Barash, A., 2020. Coastal breeding aggregations of threatened stingrays and guitarfish in the Levant. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 30 (6), 1160-1171.
Chapman, D.D., Corcoran, M.J., Harvey, G.M., Malan, S., Shivji, M.S., 2003. Mating behavior of southern stingrays, Dasyatis americana (Dasyatidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes, 68, 241-245.
Dulvy, N.K., Allen, D.J., Ralph, G.M., Walls, R.H., 2016. The conservation status of sharks, rays, and chimaeras in the Mediterranean Sea. Biological Sciences Faculty Publications, 531.
Dulvy, N.K., Fowler, S.L., Musick, J.A., Cavanagh, R.D., Kyne, P.M. et al., 2014. Extinction risk and conservation of the world’s sharks and rays. elife, 3, e00590.
Ebert D.A., Stehmann, M.F.W., 2013. Sharks, batoids, and chimaeras of the North Atlantic. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 7. FAO: Rome. 523 pp.
Ferretti, F., Osio, G.C., Jenkins, C.J., Rosenberg, A.A., Lotze, H.K., 2013. Long-term change in a meso-predator community in response to prolonged and heterogeneous human impact. Scientific Reports 3 (1), 1057.
Froese, R., Pauly, D., 2019 FishBase.
Geraci, M.L., Ragonese, S., Scannella, D., Falsone, F., Gancitano, V. et al., 2021. Batoid abundances, spatial distribution, and life history traits in the Strait of Sicily (Central Mediterranean Sea): Bridging a knowledge gap through three decades of survey. Animals, 11 (8), 2189.
Grancagnolo, D., Arculeo, M. 2021. Summer aggregation of common eagle ray, Myliobatis aquila (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatidae), in the Marine Protected Area of the Egadi Islands (southwestern Tyrrhenian Sea). Biogeographia–The Journal of Integrative Biogeography, 36.
Hyde, C.A., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Sorrentino, L., Boyd, C., Finucci, B. et al., 2022. Putting sharks on the map: A global standard for improving shark area-based conservation. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, 968853.
Jabado, R.W., Derrick, D., 2021. Dasyatis tortonesei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021. Ismen, A., 2003. Age, growth, reproduction and food of common stingray (Dasyatis pastinaca L., 1758) in Iskenderun Bay, the eastern Mediterranean. Fisheries Research, 60, 169-176.
Ismen, A., Yıgın, C., Ismen, P., 2007. Age, growth, reproductive biology and feed of the common guitarfish (Rhinobatos rhinobatos Linnaeus, 1758) in Iskenderun Bay, the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Fisheries Research, 84, 263-269.
IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group, 2023. Strait of Messina ISRA Factsheet. Dubai: IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group. 9 pp. messina-isra/
Jacoby, D.M., Croft, D.P., Sims, D.W., 2012. Social behaviour in sharks and rays: analysis, patterns and implications for conservation. Fish and Fisheries, 13 (4), 399-417.
Kajiura, S.M., Sebastian, A.P., Tricas, T.C., 2000. Dermal bite wounds as indicators of reproductive seasonality and behaviour in the Atlantic stingray, Dasyatis sabina. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 58, 23-31.
Malara, D., Battaglia, P., Consoli, P., Arcadi, E., Longo, F. et al., 2021. When opportunistic predators interact with swordfish harpoon fishing activities: shark depredation over catches in the Strait of Messina (central Mediterranean Sea). The European Zoological Journal, 88 (1), 226-236.
Milazzo, M., Cattano, C., Al Mabruk, S.A.A., Giovos, I., 2021. Mediterranean sharks and rays need action. Science, 371 (6527), 355-356.
Morey, G., Moranta, J., Riera, F., Grau, A. M., Morales-Nin, B., 2006. Elasmobranchs in trammel net fishery associated to marine reserves in the Balearic Islands (NW Mediterranean). Cybium, 30, 125-132.
Palacios, M.D., Stewart, J.D., Croll, D.A., Cronin, M.R., Trejo- Ramírez, A. et al., 2023. Manta and devil ray aggregations: conservation challenges and developments in the field. Frontiers in Marine Science, 10.
Ramírez-Amaro, S., Ordines, F., Picornell, A., Ramón, C.D.L.I.B., Terrasa, B. et al. 2021. “Dasyatis tortonesei”, una especie críptica de raya látigo en las Islas Baleares. Revista de Menorca, 100, 191-235.
Ruiz-García, D., Raga, J.A., March, D., Colmenero, A.I., Quattrocchi, F. et al., 2023. Spatial distribution of the demersal chondrichthyan community from the western Mediterrane an trawl bycatch. Frontiers in Marine Science, 10, 1145176.
Saadaoui, A., Saidi, B., Elglid, A., Seret, B., Bradai, M.N., 2016. Taxonomic observations on stingrays of the genus Dasyatis (Chondrichthyes: Dasyatidae) in the Gulf of Gabès (Southeastern Mediterranean Sea). Zootaxa, 4173 (2), 101-113.
Saadaoui, A., Saidi, B., Enajjar, S., Bradai, M.N., 2015. Reproductive biology of the common stingray Dasyatis pastinaca (Linnaeus, 1758) off the Gulf of Gabès (Central Mediterranean Sea). Cahiers de Biologie Marine, 56, 389-396.
Serena, F., Abella, A.J., Bargnesi, F., Barone, M., Colloca, F. et al., 2020. Species diversity, taxonomy and distribution of Chondrichthyes in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. The European Zoological Journal, 87, 1, 497-536.
Tiralongo, F., Messina, G., Lombardo, B.M., 2018. Discards of elasmobranchs in a trammel net fishery targeting cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis Linnaeus, 1758, along the coast of Sicily (central Mediterranean Sea). Regional Studies in Marine Science, 20, 60-63.
Tiralongo, F., Lillo, A.O., Tibullo, D., Tondo, E., Martire, C.L. et al., 2019. Monitoring uncommon and non-indigenous fishes in Italian waters: One year of results for the AlienFish project. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 28, 100606.
Vella, N., Vella, A., 2021. Characterization and comparison of the complete mitochondrial genomes of two stingrays, Dasyatis pastinaca and Dasyatis tortonesei (Myliobatiformes: Dasyatidae) from the Mediterranean Sea. Molecular Biology Reports, 48 (1), 219-226.
Yeldan, H., Avsar, D., Manasirli, M., 2009. Age, growth and feeding of the common stingray (Dasyatis pastinaca, L., 1758) in the Cilician coastal basin, northeastern Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 25, 98-102.
Yemisken, E., Dalyan, C., Eryilmaz, L., 2014. Catch and discard fish species of trawl fisheries in the Iskenderun Bay (Northeastern Mediterranean) with emphasis on lessepsian and chondricthyan species. Mediterranean Marine Science, 15 (2), 380-389.
Most read articles by the same author(s)