20 Amazing Stingrays Facts – They have Strong Teeth!
The ocean is home to many unique creatures that will blow your mind. There are marine animals that come under fish but do not look anything like one. They are the stingrays whose appearance is a bit odd. They are flat and wide, and despite their unique shape, they are surprisingly closely related to sharks. The stingray has plenty of special features, starting from their mouths. Though a bit funny-looking, they are incredible creatures. So, hop on to reading more amazing facts about them, and do not worry, they will not fail to meet your curiosity!
Basic Stingray Facts
Scientific Classification: Myliobatiformes
Latin name: Myliobatodei
Appearance: They have a flat and disk-shaped body with a venom-filled tail.
Full Grown Size and Weight: The largest size they can go up to is 3m, and their average weight can be between 14 to 32 kg.
Habitat: They live in the coastal areas’ shallow warm, and temperate waters. Their favorite place is to be under buried sands.
Diet: They are carnivores who eat mollusks, worms, and invertebrates.
Life Expectancy: They can live up to 15 – 25 years in the wild. In captivity, the years reduce by at least five even if they are taken care of in top-notch conditions.
20 Interesting Stingray Facts
- Stingrays come under a type of sea rays and have eight more subdivisions under them. They are the following
- Sixgill stingray
- Deepwater stingray,
- Round rays
- Whiptail stingray
- River stingray
- Butterfly rays
- Eagle rays.
- There are about 220 species of stingrays who are divided into so many families and genres. If you have seen the animated movie Finding Nemo, the teacher fish that takes the baby fishes for ocean trips is an eagle ray!
- Stingrays are cartilaginous fish, which means their body consists of cartilage, not bones. This is what makes them similar to sharks. They have also been given the nickname ‘flat sharks’ because of this similarity.
- Their flat body shape is due to their fins being as long as their bodies. The fins give the fish a rounded look even though they have flat bodies. The stingrays move by either flapping their fins or moving their body like waves. From far, it may look like they are flying through the water, but they are just moving very smoothly.
- A unique part that stands out in a stingray is the tail. Their tails are used for defense and swimming around. The most astonishing thing about the tail is that it is laced with spines that have sharp edges. The spines can cause severe damage due to the venom on them. Some giant stingrays have so much power that they can force their spines onto wooden boats.
- Stingray venom is harmful, but it is fatal only when directly stabbed to the heart or abdomen. Anywhere else on the body would not result in the death of the animal or human.
- Stingrays seem to have been on the surface of the earth for a long, long time now. They have been mentioned in Greek mythology. The king of Ithaca, Odysseus, was killed by the venom of a stingray coated on a spear’s tip. There are also mentions of the venom being used as an anesthetic by dentists in ancient Greece.
- Another proof of their ancientness is their fossils, which are pretty hard to come by. The only evidence is the scale and teeth remain.
- Most stingrays have a dark brown or grey back with lighter shades for the underside. They can have blue, yellow, or brown spots, making them easy to spot. Some have black and white markings like the Manta ray and leopard-like patterns like the leopard whip ray.
- Most facial features such as the mouth, nostrils, gill slits, etc., are located at the underside. The eyes, however, are located on the topside or the dorsal side. The eyes do not appear to be helpful for the fish in hunting. Instead, the stingray uses the same method as the shark to hunt. They have electric sensors called ampullae of Lorenzini that help detect the location of the prey.
- Stingray population can be found more in the Black and Mediterranean seas. Some species that live there are the common stingray, the butterfly ray, the thorntail ray. These are calm areas that do not have many disturbances on the seabeds. Other areas of their species distribution are in the northern Atlantic ocean, eastern Atlantic from Madeira to Norway, and Canary islands. The Bahamas have become a major tourist attraction due to the gathering of these fish.
- The diet of the stingrays is fish and invertebrates smaller in size than them. They prefer eating those found in the shallow waters, such as clams, oysters, mollusks, shrimps. They also have the stomach for snails and squids.
- Stingrays have strong jaw teeth that can easily crush the hard outer shells of invertebrates. Their jaws have thick layers of cartilage, and mini struts protect the soft insides. This makes their jaws strong but lightweight too. Pretty handy!
- Their small size makes them an easy target as prey. Predators such as larger fish, sharks, sea lions, and seals are the ones who try to eat them.
- Since stingrays are more peaceful creatures, you can see this behavior when they are attacked as well. Rather than becoming aggressive and attacking, most prefer to hide or run away.
- Do not be mistaken because this is not the case all the time. They lay down on sand most of the time and sometimes cover themselves with it. So if you are not careful, you might end up stepping on them and getting stung. That would be a painful experience and end up ruining your nice vacation day!
- Stingrays reproduce through the process of internal fertilization. Before all that, the males court the females and choose them by biting on their pectoral disk. The mating period is very long, lasting for over six months till the female becomes pregnant. A female can give birth to 5 to 15 young ones in a year.
- The baby stingrays are born fully formed and look like the tiny versions of their parents. They swim away as soon as they are born because of the survival instincts imbibed from birth. Although this is the case for most newborns, some mothers like to stick around till the baby is one-third of the parent’s size.
- Stingrays are solitary creatures who only become part of a group during mating.
- Like many fish, stingrays are also a delicacy for humans. They are eaten in dried forms, especially the wings. People like them because the taste reminds them of shark meat and scallops.
Stingrays are beautiful creatures who are a delight to look at. Unfortunately, there are still many stingray species that do not have much information on them. We know the ones in danger of being vulnerable species due to illegal and excessive fishing. We should strive to protect such amazing marine life. If you get the chance to interact with these beautiful stingrays, keep in mind the facts you learned here and have fun!