Web page created by Stephen Eichenbaum.
Photographs from Sea and Sky web page, see bibliography.
Classification: The stingrays make up the family Dasyatidae. Freshwater stingrays make up the family Potamotrygonidae. Some examples of the family Dasyatidae include the Blue Spotted Stingray and the Southern Stingray as shown above.
Appearance: Stingray body type consists of a compressed, flattened, diamond shaped body. They have wide pectoral fins which in some stingrays can reach up to 5 feet wide. It has a long, thin tail that holds the stingrays long, sharp, poisonous barbs where it earns its name. The mouth and gills of the ray are located ventrally, while its eyes are located on the top side of the body. Its mouth contains small teeth used for feeding on bivalves.
Habitat: Stingrays are found in oceans around the world and in some species, freshwater lakes and rivers.
Range: Stingrays are found in the warmer, tropical ocean waters around the world from the Atlantic, Carribean, Gulf of Mexico and as far as the Eastern and Central Pacific. There is even a species of stingrays that can be found in the freshwater lakes and rivers of South America!
Prey: They feed on small fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods.
Reproduction: These creatures are egg laying. Stingrays are ovoviviparous, meaning that the offspring receive nutrients from an egg yolk which is carried inside the mother until the time of birth.
Behavior: Stingrays are known to make their home at the ocean floor. These creatures can be found usually buried under the sand on the floor. They blend in with the sand very well due to their simliar coloring. They use this technique to their advantage when hunting for food. They lay beneath the sand waiting for the right time to strike an unsuspecting fish with their long, sharp, poisonous barb. This technique can also dangerous for any unsuspecting human who may happen to step on a stingray. This will be a very painful experience as the barb is sharp enough to pierce the person's foot all the way through.
Poisonous Status: The sting of a stingray will not prove to be fatal to humans, although still quite painful. If you are stung, however, you should still seek medical attention immediately.
1.The Animal World, World Book Inc. Chicago, Illinois,1989,p.65
2."Stingray", Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2000.
3.Sea and Sky