Caribbean Whiptail Ray


Scientific name

Styracura schmardae




2 m (6.5 feet)



Did you know?

Though it is locally called a whiptail ray, the species is not part of the true whiptail ray family, Dasyatidae, and is actually more closely related to freshwater stingrays.

About Caribbean Whiptail Rays

Also called the Atlantic chupare, the Caribbean whiptail ray mostly inhabits nearshore brackish and coastal waters, though it is commonly found at several offshore coral reefs and atolls in the western Caribbean. Juveniles may use mangrove habitats as nurseries, moving into coral reef-associated habitats as they grow. The species is important to both fisheries and tourism economies in several countries in Central America and the wider Caribbean. The Caribbean whiptail ray is docile in its natural environment, but is known to vigorously whip its barbed tail back and forth when captured, thus earning its name. Because it has a small range, little is known about the species, such as how fast it grows, when or where it reproduces, or its diet.


No studies have been conducted to quantify the diet of the Caribbean whiptail ray, but it is known to create large feeding pits in sandy habitats. It likely has a similar diet to the southern stingray, including benthic worms, fish, crustaceans, and molluscs.


Western Central and Southwest Atlantic from the Gulf of Campeche, Mexico to Ceará State in Brazil and in the Greater and Lesser Antilles and the Bahamas.

Fun facts

  • The Pacific chupare, which occurs from southern Mexico to Costa Rica, is believed to be the ‘sister-species’ to the Atlantic chupare, as both species are similar in appearance.

Caribbean Whiptail Ray photo gallery

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