Facts About Stingrays for Kids
Stingrays are one of the most beautiful marine animals, and they exist in a variety of sizes and shapes in tropical, subtropical areas, freshwater rivers, and lakes. Stingrays have long, spiky tails and flattened bodies.
Found typically hidden on the seafloor, Stingrays are part of the elasmobranch family of fish, and they look like the finned marine species in an aquarium. There are roughly 200 different stingray species, and they can grow up to 790 pounds, measuring 6.5 feet in length.
Stingrays were first discovered 150 million years ago, according to fossil records. Here are some fascinating facts about these strange species.
11 Facts About Stingrays
1. The Largest Stingray Is Nearly 800 Pounds
The size of rays varies a lot. For example, the short-nose electric ray is the smallest at around 10cm in length and weighs around 400g, whereas the oceanic manta ray is considered the largest with a wingspan of up to 7 meters and 2,000 kg in weight.
Dasyatis brevicaudata, or short-tailed stingrays, can be found off the southern shores of Africa and Australia. They can weigh up to 770 pounds and grow 14 feet long. On the other hand, the huge freshwater stingray (Himantura Chao Phraya) can reach enormous proportions.
2. Stingrays Are Predators
Stingrays are carnivores that eat animals that dwell on or beneath the sand. For example, stingrays closely hunt for ray-finned fish, crustaceans, and worms. According to a study on diet reform in southern stingrays along the Caribbean. Additional studies discovered that the species ate at least 65 different kinds of prey each day, with some having as many as 30 each day.
3. Stingrays Usually Move In A Wave, While Others Fly Like Birds
Stingrays may seem like flying through the water, but you will see a graceful flapping rhythm driving them forward if you look closely. Most species move from place to place by swaying their bodies like an oceanic wave, whereas some flap their sides like wings.
According to Save Our Seas Foundation, stingrays in South Africa were seen migrating at 0.83 miles per hour, with some species voyaging at 528 miles.
4. Stingrays Are Fully-Formed At Birth
Akin to a cuter version of Raviolis, baby stingrays mirror smaller clones of their parents when they are born. They are well-formed and natural swimmers from birth, allowing them to hunt for food immediately. However, their mothers stay with these tiny rays until they are around three years old to safeguard them.
5. Stingrays Are Good At Concealing Themselves
Since stingrays spend most of their time hidden in the sand, it’d be wise to keep a watch next time you are walking by the ocean. Their speckled skin, which varies between light beige to dark brown, offers the ideal camouflage for lazing out on the seafloor until a nice meal comes along.
It also protects from predators like hammerhead sharks and killer whales. In addition, Stingrays use their wings to stir up sand while burying their face in the sand to add an extra layer of protection.
6. Stingray’s Jaws Are Strong
Stingray jaws are strong enough to break rock-hard clam shells while being flattened. Their jaws have layers of hardened cartilage, and the softer innards of their jaw parts are held by hollow, mineralized arches. As a result, stingray jaws are both robust and delicate.
7. Stingrays Are Usually Gentle
While a stingray encounter can prove fatal, they are usually very friendly and docile near humans. Therefore, divers should avoid situations where a stingray feels threatened.
95% of stingray attacks occur when a diver swims in front of or straight over a ray, restricting its exit route. Stepping on a Stingray is bound to get you stung. Hence ensure to scoot your feet when you go into the ocean water.
8. Stingrays Are Short Of Being Close Cousins To Sharks
Stingrays and sharks have a lot in common, even if they don’t have sharp teeth. They’re both cartilaginous fish, which means they have cartilage rather than bones, anchoring their structures and identical skin. They also have similar Lorenzini ampullae, which are sensory organs that catch electrical signals released by animals.
9. Female Stingrays Are Bigger Than Male Stingrays
Female stingrays live 15-22 years on average, whereas males live just 5-7 years. As a result, females reach adulthood faster than males, but they also live longer. Females and males of round stingrays, a species known for its rapid expansion, reach 58 percent and 70 percent of their total size, individually, within the first year of life.
10. Stingrays Are Poisonous
Stingrays have long, slender tails with 1-3 lethal stings, and the bite emits agonizing pain and infection at the wound spot. According to The National Capital Poison Control Center, roughly 1,500 to 2,000 stingray injuries occur in the United States every year, with the majority occurring on the legs and feet.
In 2006, a stingray gravely punctured the heart of renowned TV celebrity and conservation activist Steve Irwin.
11. Some Stingray Species Are Endangered
At least 26 species of stingrays are listed as rare or critically vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. The roughness cow tail ray is a rare species, with a population drop of 50-79 percent over the last 60 years, owing to mistreatment and habitat loss.
A solitary species, the stingrays come together only to migrate or breed. They live for around 15-25 years in the wild. However, if held captive, their lifespan can go down to just five years in a freshwater tank, that too, if they are taken care of well. When the water is cloudy, it can be difficult to identify stingrays.
Waves on the surface make them difficult to see even under clear water. They can also be found just beneath the surface of the sand. Hence avoid entering murky waters and keep an eye on where you tread. Wear closed-toe footwear. When your toes hit the ocean, all you need to do is scurry, hard enough to make some noise.
The vibrations scare the stingrays and alert them to move away from any seeming threats. We hope these amazing facts and simple tips interest you more in getting to know the bizarre yet stunning stingray species!