Stingray, Cowtail (Pastinachus sephen)
The Cow tail stingray in Thailand is found in brackish estuarine environments in addition to inshore waters (marine environments) down to depths of 60m.
The Cow Tail stingray is a member of the Dasyatidae family of fishes (cartilaginous fishes) which regularly ventures into mangrove estuaries and tidal river systems and has previously been recorded at widths of 1.8 metres reaching an estimated 100 kg’s.
This Thai stingray has also been referred to as the Banana tail stingray and the Fantail stingray and feeds on various aquatic invertebrates in addition to mollusks and small fish.
The Cow Tail stingray is easily identified by its distinctive flag-like ventral fold which is located on its whip like tail giving the Cow Tail Stingrays tail a fin-like appearance.
The dorsoventrally compressed design of the Cow tail stingray displays a black to grey or brown colouration on its upper side with a soft white underside which houses five pairs of gill slits and a large cavernous mouth lined with 20 rows of hexagonal high crowned teeth.
The dorsal surface (upper side) of the fish is covered with a rough covering of minute placoid scales giving the skin of the Cow Tail Stingray a rough sandpaper like texture.Small eyes are located at the front of the Stingray’s dorsal surface which is located next to the stingray’s spiracle (sixth gill/breathing apparatus).
The flexible whip-like tail of this fish is armed with a serrated spine or barb which contains poisonous necrotic venom which must be treated with caution at all times.
The Cow tail stingray is widely distributed throughout the tropical waters of the South Pacific including Australia, Japan, Melanesia and Micronesia and other parts of Southeast Asia including Thailand.
This interesting species can be caught whilst fishing in Thailand at various tidal rivers and estuarine locations including the Ban Pakong River, the Maeklong River, Mekong River and several of Thailand’s other great tidal rivers.