A very large stingray with a kite-shaped disc that is slightly wider than long; disc width approximately 1.1 x length. Snout elongate, with a tightly rounded tip. Anterior margins of disc straight, weakly concave, or sinuous. Pectoral fin apexes tightly rounded to angular. Pelvic fins small with narrowly rounded apexes.
Eyes small. Snout length 2.5-2.9 x combined eye and spiracle length.
Mouth narrow with 3 oral papillae. Prominent labial furrows and folds around mouth. Lower jaw concave at symphysis. Skirt shaped nasal curtain with a weakly fringed margin. Nostrils thin.
Band of heart-shaped denticles on central disc. A row of thorns extend along midline from nape to caudal sting. Thorns on tail greatly elongated and spear shaped. 1-2 thorns on each shoulder; sometimes absent. Tail narrow based, round in cross section, tapering gently to caudal sting, then thin and whiplike to tip. Tail length (when intact) approximately 2.5-3 x disc width. Dorsal fold reduced to a ridge. Ventral finfold long and thin; length roughly equal to 1.5x distance from cloaca to caudal sting origin. One tail sting usually present.
Dorsum tan or olive-brown, sometimes with darker spots. Ventrum white or yellowish. Tail beyond caudal sting often dusky. Ventral fin fold dark.
Maximum disc width 180cm, possibly 200cm. Disc width at birth 15cm.
Tropical/sub-tropical seas. On sandy or muddy substrates, sometimes adjacent to rocky reefs. From brackish intertidal areas to at least 70m.
Southern Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and southwest Atlantic to southern Brazil.
The longnose stingray is captured in artisanal gillnets and beach seines, and in commercial trawl fisheries. In the northwest Atlantic, there are no population trend estimates for this species. Artisanal fisheries are intense across much of the Southwest Atlantic, and there are largely unmanaged commercial trawl and longline fisheries in many areas. In Colombia, this species has been exploited since the 1970s and has a high commercial value, and artisanal fisheries there are widespread and unmanaged. In Venezuela, commercial and artisanal fisheries are intense, lack management, and have exhibited peaks in catches followed by declines, indicative of sequential overfishing, and this species has been noted in unmanaged gillnet fisheries there such as the one operating off Margarita Island. Longnose Stingrays are targeted heavily in artisanal beach seine fisheries in the northeast of Brazil. Fisheries are intense and largely unmanaged in eastern and southern Brazil as well. Due to the level of exploitation across its shallow inshore range, the fact that it has exhibited declines where targeted, and its large size, it is suspected that the Longnose Stingray has undergone a population reduction of 30–49% over the past three generation lengths (32 years) in Atlantic South America. Taking together the relative area of habitat in the Western Central, where this species is likely Least Concern, and Southwest Atlantic, the Longnose Stingray is suspected to have undergone an overall population reduction of 20–29% over the past three generation lengths (32 years), and it is assessed as Near Threatened (nearly meeting Vulnerable A2d).
Carlson, J., Charvet, P., Blanco-Parra, MP, Briones Bell-lloch, A., Cardenosa, D., Derrick, D., Espinoza, E., Marcante, F., Morales-Saldaña, J.M., Naranjo-Elizondo, B., Schneider, E.V.C. & Simpson, N.J. 2020. Hypanus guttatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T44592A104125629. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T44592A104125629.en. Downloaded on 19 February 2021.
Matrotrophic aplacental viviparity. Litter size unknown. Nursery areas have been identified off northeastern Brazil on sandy banks and rocky reefs (Yokota and Lessa 2006).
Diet includes echinoderms, worms, molluscs, crustaceans, and small fishes.
Sedentary; spends much of its time resting on the substrate.
Reaction to divers
A shy species that is generally difficult to approach.
Longnose stingrays are present as far north as the Gulf of Campeche but are rarely encountered in Mexico.
Although this ray is quite common along the east coast of Central America, it is not particularly easy to track down due to the lack of coastal dive shops on the mainland. It is probably seen on occasion by coastal dive shops in Guatemala and Honduras.
A known nursery area for longnose stingrays exists off the beaches of Caiçara do Norte in northeastern Brazil, where newborns and small juveniles have been reported from water no more than 3 m (9.8 ft) deep from February to October.