Cowtail Stingray (species: Pastinachus ater) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Pastinachus ater
Cowtail Stingray

©Anne Hoggett: Cowtail Stingray at Lizard Island. There is a Sharksucker fish under the tail base.

©Anne Hoggett: Tail of the same Cowtail Stingray at Lizard Island. 

©Anne Hoggett: A Cowtail Stingray mostly buried in sand with a Sharksucker hovering above. Note tail is exposed at top left of photo. Watson's Bay, Lizard Island.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Elasmobranchii
Order Myliobatiformes
Family Dasyatidae
Genus Pastinachus
Species Pastinachus ater



Distinguishing features

A large, thick, uniformly dark-coloured ray. Disc rhomboidal with a wide central band of short denticles running from near snout to tail base. Tail broad at base, tapering gradually to sting. A wide skin fold under the tail, terminating abruptly about two sting-lengths behind sting tip (Last and Stevens, 2009)


  • Up to 183 cm (Length of specimen)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island: This is probably the most frequently-seen large, thick stingray seen at Lizard Island.

Web resources


  • Cribb, B.W. and I.D. Whittington (2004). Anterior adhesive areas and adjacent secretions in the parasitic flatworms Decacotyle lymmae and D. tetrakordyle (Monogenea: Monocotylidae) from the gills of stingrays. Invertebrate Biology, 123: 68-77. LIRS catalog number 1657.
  • Last, P.R. and J.D. Stevens (2009). Sharks and Rays of Australia.: 2nd Edition CSIRO Publishing, Australia.