Underwater Life – Southern Stingray

Did you know we had a group of friends go to Cozumel this week? Who is jealous? {raises hand} and I know I know we aren’t supposed to be jealous but come on… It’s hot here and they’re at least basking in the water. I on the other hand spent yesterday in the hayfield. Now my first degree is agriculture and I was born in the dead of summer so I like the heat but I’m kind of warn out right now. I might become like the stingray and become nocturnal. Don’t know what that means, don’t worry I defined it for you below… keep reading!

The southern stingray is a stingray of the family Dasyatidae found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean from New Jersey to southern Brazil.

  • It is most abundant near Florida and the Bahamas.
  • The southern stingray is adapted for life on the sea bed

  • The flattened, diamond-shaped body has sharp corners making it more angular than the discs of other rays.
    • The top of the body varies between olive brown and green in adults, dark grey in juveniles, whilst the underside is predominantly white.
    •  The wing-like pectoral fins are used to propel the stingray across the ocean bottom
    • The slender tail possesses a long, serrated and poisonous spine at the base used for defence.
    • These spines are not fatal to humans, but are incredibly painful if stepped on
    • Their eyes are situated on top of the head of the southern stingray, along with small openings called spiracles
  • The location of the spiracles enables the stingray to take in water while laying on the seabed or when partially buried in sediment
  • Water enters the spiracles and leaves through the gill openings, bypassing the mouth, which is on the underside.
    • Female Stingrays can grow to a disc width of 150 cm, contrary to the smaller male stingrays that reach max size at 67 cm. (150cm is roughly 59 inches, 67 cm is equivalent to about 26 inches)
  • Stingrays are nocturnal
  • I did some research for those who don’t know what nocturnal is… basically they are awake at night and sleep during the day.
  • Catching prey
  • They spray water from their mouths or flap their fins vigorously to disturb the substrate and expose hidden prey
  • Opportunistic feeders and continuous foragers
    • Small fish, worms and crustaceans
  • Predators
  • Humans and sharks
  • Often found singly or in pairs and can reach population densities estimated up to 245 per km2 in certain shallow systems thought to be nursery grounds.
  • Their wave-like motion of pectoral fin allows them to escape predators, forage efficiently, and generally maneuver quickly.
  • Common Names:
    • Southern Stingray
    • Kit
    • Whip stingray




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