Photo copyright Tim Nicholson.
Taken in the Egyptian Red Sea.
Blue Spotted Stingray, Taeniura lymma.
The Dasyatidae family contains about 100 species, one of which is the Blue Spotted Stingray. Like all stingrays they have venomous spines at the base of the tail. They breathe by drawing water through a small hole behind the eye and expelling it through gill slits on their undersides. They often lie on sandy bottoms, flicking sand over themselves as camouflage. They feed on molluscs and crabs.
Common and easy-to-spot throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including the Red Sea and the Great Barrier Reef. Simple to identify with their oval shape and blue spots. Not aggressive, but if you accidentally step on one the spine may be driven into your leg. This causes intense pain, increasing for around 90 minutes and lasting, if untreated, for 1 to 2 days.
Coral Reef Fishes, Indo-Pacific and Caribbean, by Ewald Lieske and Robert Myers, Harper Collins
The Red Sea in Egypt Part I, Fishes, by Farid S Atiya, Elias Modern Printing House (1994)