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Habitat and EcologyHabitat and Ecology
D. pastinaca reaches a maximum reported size of 140 cm disc width (DW) and 250 cm total length (TL) (Bauchot 1987, Fisher et al. 1987, Notarbartolo and Bianchi 1998). The size at maturity of females is estimated at about 38 cm DW (Capape et al. 1996) and 60 cm TL/28 cm DW (Ismen 2003). Males mature at a smaller size, estimates ranging from 32 cm DW (Capape et al. 1996) and 50 cm TL/26 cm DW (Ismen 2003). The age at maturity and longevity of this species is unknown.
Females reproduce twice a year (Notarbartolo and Bianchi 1998), however the reproductive age and period of gestation is unknown. In the northern Adriatic, reproduction takes place between September and May, during which pregnant females approach the coast. Bini (1967) reported that pupping occurred between July and August, and 4-9 pups/litter are produced (Notarbartolo and Bianchi 1998). Several localities where the species aggregates during mid June and July are known in the Balearic Islands. These aggregations of mature stingrays are probably related to reproduction (Morey et al. in review.). Young specimens are common in shallow waters over sandy bottoms, and parturition was reported to occur in early July in the eastern Mediterranean (Ismen 2003). Neonates are approximately 20 cm TL (8 cm DW) (Ismen 2003). The rate of population increase and natural mortality are unknown.
D. pastinaca feed mainly on demersal and benthic animals, such as crustaceans, cephalopods, clams, polychaetes and fish (Notarbartolo and Bianchi 1998, Whitehead et al. 1984). In a study by Ismen (2003), crustaceans represented more than 99% of the diet when pooling all size classes, but teleost fish were of increasing importance in the diet of larger stingrays.