Dasyatis marmorata was recorded in the northeastern Mediterranean in 1892, and since 1993 it has been found in the southern part of the Mediterranean Sea.
Earlier records were limited to Tunisia, Israel and, more recently, Turkey.
In the last three areas, the distribution of the species at depths of less than 50 m indicates a preference for shallower waters, although rays have also been caught in the Gulf of Antalya at depths of between 50 and 100 m. This indicates that the ray may seek deeper waters than previously known, while shallow waters may be used as a nursery.
In February 2019, a juvenile male stingray was caught during a land survey in the Gulf of Maliakos in the central Aegean Sea, Greece. The stingray was examined in the fisheries laboratory of the Greek Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) in Athens and identified as Dasyatis marmorata.
Morphological characteristics were recorded and a DNA barcode was applied to confirm the identification of the species. The combination of the two methods verified the presence of the marble ray in Greek waters. This is therefore the first evidence of Dasyatis marmorata from the Aegean Sea.
Although the Marbled Stingray has migrated and reproduced in the Mediterranean Sea, there is no record of this ray as an invasive species in the Global invasive species database or in the Invasive Species Compendium (CAB International).
It seems very likely that the ray has found its way through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea.
A pregnant female can have up to four litters per year (after a gestation period of three months) with up to nine young.
Dasyatis marmorata stands out due to many larger bruises on the back. The most similar is the blue stingray Dasyatis chrysonota (Smith, 1828)
Dasyatis chrysonota marmorata (stone roofer, 1892)
Trygon pastinaca marmorata stone roofer, 1892
We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Eric Clua, French Polynesia, for the first photo of the ray.
Dasyatis chrysonota marmorata (Steindachner, 1892)
Trygon pastinaca marmorata Steindachner, 1892