Urobatis jamaicensis

Urobatis jamaicensis is an elasmobranchs belonging to the order Myliobatiformes and to the family Urotrygonidae. It is a species of benthic habits, which inhabits the nearshore waters of sandy/muddy bottoms, seaweed beds or coral bottoms. Sometimes it can enter the estuaries of rivers. Its geographical distribution ranges from the coast of North Carolina, through Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean coast of Central America.

Source: FAO

The maximum length of Urobatis jamaicensis is 70 cm and its width is 36 cm. Its disc is slightly oval to circular in shape, with the central part of the disc thickened with respect to the external part of the disc. At the top of the head and slightly in a lateral situation, we find the eyes of the specimen, behind which there are the spiracles of similar size to the eyes themselves. The mouth, located in a ventral position, has numerous small teeth that are distributed in bands. Behind the mouth, we find the gill openings. At the back of the body, we find the robust base of the tail, along with a considerably robust tail. The dorsal surface of the disc is of a color between tan and brown in which numerous circular golden, greenish or whitish spots stand out. The ventral surface is whitish with a brown or yellowish shade.

Among the main prey of Urobatis jamaicensis, we find crustaceans and occasionally small fish. Their feeding method, common among stingrays, consists of digging up their prey from the substrate by means of undulating movements of their fins.

Urobatis jamaicensis specimens reach sexual maturity when their bodies are between 15 and 16 cm wide. During the breeding season, it is common to see large concentrations of individuals. Males are distinguished by the claspers, which are anatomical structures generally found on the sides of the cloaca and below the base of the tail next to the anal fins. Females are capable of giving birth to up to 4 offspring up with discs up to about 6 cm wide. Most often, the act of giving birth occurs in meadows of turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum). The juvelines are the same color as the adults.