As with most rays, the body of this large stingray is flattened and disc-shaped, with the pectoral fins broadly expanded and joined to the head and body. The tail is distinctly demarcated from the disc-like body, relatively narrow, and about as long as the body length. The round ribbontail ray has a circular-shaped disc that has a mottled pattern of black, grey and white spots and blotches on its upper surface, while the tail is uniformly black behind the sting (3)(4). The underside is pale, while the edges of the body disc and under-surface of the tail are a greyish-brown to black (3). A deep and prominent skin fold runs along the underside of the tail (2)(4).
Found throughout the East and West Pacific, Red Sea and Indian Ocean (5). Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to southern Japan, Micronesia, tropical Australia and Lord Howe Island (2). Eastern Pacific: known only from oceanic islands (Cocos and the Galapagos), where the species is very common, but individuals may also colonise waters around the Central America mainland (2)(5).
The round ribbontail ray is reportedly caught by trawl nets, gill nets and hook lines in Malaysia (3), although it may also be affected by fisheries elsewhere. Additionally, the ray is sought by surf and ski boat anglers in southern Africa, but is usually released unharmed (2).
There are currently no conservation measures targeting this species. The ray is found in various protected areas, however, such as Lord Howe Island Marine Park (7). The longevity record for a specimen in an aquarium is 81 days, suggesting that captive breeding is not a viable option in efforts to increase numbers of this animal (2).
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