They have flattened bodies and barbed, long tails. Stingrays appear to be creatures from another planet. Explore interesting Facts About Stingrays below!
They are marine-dwelling vertebrates that are quite common and can be located in shallow and warm waters throughout the world’s subtropical and tropical regions and freshwater rivers and lakes.
Learn more about the factors that make stingrays among the most unusual marine creatures.
Facts About Stingrays
1. Stingrays Are Carnivores
Stingrays are carnivores, feeding on animals living in or beneath the sand. A study looking at the diet of southern stingrays of the Caribbean discovered that stingrays feed predominantly on crustaceans and ray-finned fish and worms. 1 Supplemental study found they consumed a minimum of 65 types of prey -at least 30 per day.
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2. They Move by Flapping Their ‘Wings’
Stingrays might appear as if they’re floating through the waters; However, a closer examination will reveal a smooth flapping motion that propels them through. The majority of species wiggle their bodies to move from one place to another in the same way as an underwater wave. However, some species prefer to flail their bodies up and down as if they were wings. The research done by the Save Our Seas Foundation found that the stingrays of South Africa moved at 1.35 kilometers per hour (0.83 miles per hour), and some species were able to travel as long as 850 km (528 miles).
3. Stingrays Are Closely Related to Sharks
They might not possess sharp teeth, but they have a lot in common with sharks. They’re both in the same category of cartilaginous fish (meaning their skeletons are supported by cartilage and not bones) and share a similar skin. They also share identical ampullae from Lorenzini sensors, which are sensors that detect electrical signals released by predators.
4. Stingray Babies Are Born Fully Developed
Little ones, also known as pups, can swim and eat immediately upon birth and the majority of species require no parental attention. Scientists are only beginning to learn how being in the water (even haphazard) could cause premature births in the ray species. In a study published by the journal Biological Conservation, approximately 85 percent of blue stingrays lost offspring when they were captured.
5. Females Are Larger Than Males
Females attain sexual maturity earlier than males, but they are also more likely to live longer. In the case of round stingrays, one of the fastest-growing species, males and females reach 58 percent and 70 percent of their size in the first year of their lives. 4 Females have an average lifespan of 15-22 years, while males can only live for five to seven years.
6. Stingray Touch Tanks Are a Touchy Subject
The study on the extent to which stingrays are fond of touching is a debate at the very least. For instance, AZA’s certified Shedd Aquarium of Chicago published research in 2017 that suggests that the animals aren’t affected by their interactions with humans or even prefer the experience. 5 Just one year later, 34 of the 42 cownose stingrays included in the exhibit that was touched mysteriously passed away.
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7. They Are Venomous
Everyone remembers when the popular TV personality and conservationist Steve Irwin was fatally injured in the chest by a stingray in 2006. Stingrays are characterized by long, thin tails, with anywhere from one to three venomous barbs attached. The sting is typically accompanied by severe discomfort and the possibility of being infected at the wound site. Based on the National Capital Poison Control Center, there are between 1500-and 2,000 stingray injuries reported every year within the United States, and most occur in the feet or on the legs.
8. The Sleep in the Sand
When they rest, stingrays sink their bodies in sand and leave the barbs that protect them sticking out to defend their bodies as they rest. This is a problem in areas where people enter the water. Therefore it is suggested that beachgoers perform”the “stingray shuffle” to produce vibrating sand that alerts stingrays to their presence.
9. There Are Over 200 Species of Stingrays
Experts estimate there are approximately 220 species of stingrays found in the globe’s oceans and freshwater rivers, and lakes. The stingray with the small eye is one of the rarest species in the ocean, with wingspans of more than seven feet and white marks, and small eyes (hence the name). 7 Before the beginning of 2000, it was only seen in some sightings, but they are now increasing; scientists have observed more than 70 of them in the waters off southern Mozambique over the last 15 years.
10. Some Species Chew Their Food
Biologists at the University of Toronto filmed freshwater stingrays gnawing on the soft-shelled shrimp, fish, and dragonfly nymphs with hard shells with high-speed cameras. The results indicated that animals and stingrays had developed similar ways of breaking down food independent of one another. 8 Before that, mammals were thought to be the sole animal to chew their food.
11. They Lived at the Same Time as Dinosaurs
In 2019, a group of researchers from the Institute of Paleontology of the University of Vienna discovered a fossil stingray dating to over 50 million years old. The findings provided new connections to radiation resulting from the Cretaceous mass extinction. Additional molecular evidence indicated that modern stingrays split from a sister group in their time in the Late Jurassic, about 150 million years ago.
12. Stingrays Are Different Than Manta Rays
While they are commonly grouped in the same class, Stingrays and Manta Rays are, in fact, different. Manta rays’ mouths are located on the front of their body, whereas the stingray’s mouth is in the lower part of the body. Manta rays are also devoid of the distinctive tail stinger or barb and reside in the open ocean rather than on the seafloor.
13. They Can Get Pretty Large
The year 2009 was when a massive freshwater stingray was captured and then released into Thailand that was 14 feet in length and between 700 to 800 pounds weight. It is one of the biggest freshwater fish ever recorded and documented. The female Himantura polylepis stingray was also believed to be between 35-and 40 years old.
14. They Can Detect Magnetic Fields
Scientists conducted experiments on stingrays with yellow color in 2020 to establish that the animals can utilize the magnetic field of Earth to keep the direction they are in as they are moving through their environment. They discovered evidence that proved that stingrays can detect changes within the geomagnetic field and that they could use the field to their advantage by orienting themselves and keeping the same direction when they navigate.
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15. Over 25 Stingray Species Are Endangered
The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species includes, at the very least, 26 species of Stingrays that are either critically endangered or endangered. The majority of species are not well-known and are experiencing declining populations, complicating conservation efforts. The most endangered species includes the cocktail with a rough nose shark, which has seen its population decline between 50-79 percent in the last 60 years due to the loss of habitat and exploitation.