Fish of the Week: Blotched Fantail Ray

Cleaning Symbiosis – Laamu Atoll, Maldives

The Blotched Fantail Ray is one of the largest rays commonly found throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The stingray in this video was observed at a cleaning station in the Laamu Atoll, Maldives.

A cleaning station is a location where large and small aquatic life temporarily congregate to benefit each other. Typically, a mutual association between individuals of two species, where the cleaners (small fish) remove and eats parasites and other materials from the surface of the client (larger fish).

Cleaning stations are usually located either on top of a coral head or between outcroppings.

The Blotched Fantail Ray can grow to almost 6 feet wide and weigh over 300 pounds. This stingray feeds on a great variety of invertebrates as well as bony fish. Generally, they do not feed during a cleaning.

The Stingray is non-aggressive species. It has a venomous spine on its tail. The spine only raises forward when threatened.

The video above was shot with a Panasonic GH5 in a Nauticam housing. Here’s a link to my underwater camera rig.

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