The bluespotted stingray (Neotrygon kuhlii) or Kuhl’s stingray, is a species of stingray of the Dasyatidae family. It is light green with blue spots. Its disk width hovers around 42 centimeters (17 in). It is popular in aquaria but usually not distinguished from the bluespotted ribbontail ray. The ribbontail is rounder with brighter blue and more vivid spots, but the bluespotted stingray is larger. The stingray’s maximum age estimate is from one to eighteen years of age. The bluespotted stingray preys on many fish and small mollusks, but is also preyed on by the killer whale and hammer head shark. The bluespotted stingray is also generally found in Indonesia to Japan, and south to Northern Australia. The bluespotted stingray is also targeted by many parasites such as tapeworms, flatworms, and flukes.
Our second and third dive in Bacuit Bay last June was graced by these interesting species and what a joy, it was my first up-close encounter with them. One was camouflaging on the white sands. Our DM poked it and it just hopped few steps from us, obviously not disturbed by our presence. Its disk gracefully flapped and landed peacefully on the sands again. The myth was that they can whip with their powerful tails with poison. But it appeared friendly and calmly resting, though not playful.
I relaized that Entalula Island and Twin Rocks are identified sanctuaries of stingrays, perhaps if I got the chance to dive again at El Nido in the future, I could chance upon a herd of them lining up with their pups. Then I could swim with them side by side while they flap gracefully. Just like Stingray City in the Grand Cayman!
NB. Photo credits to http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu