The stingray is an ocean animal found in shallow, tropical waters. Its Latin name is Dasyatis centroura. Unless they are attacked by a predator, a stingray has a lifespan of up to 20 years! There is lots more to know about these fascinating creatures.
Most people know what a stingray looks like – it’s a wide, flat, gray animal that swims in the ocean by flapping its wing-like fins. They don’t look like anything else on Earth. What most people don’t know is that stingrays aren’t all that different from other kinds of fish, regardless of their exotic appearance.
Stingrays are closely related to sharks. Like sharks, their skeleton isn’t made of bones at all, but instead is composed of softer cartilage. This more flexible material is what allows them to perform their other-worldly undulating motion.
Most of the time, stingrays hide in the sand in shallow, warm ocean water. They are using camouflage both to hunt their prey and hide from their enemies. This camouflage is enhanced by the stingray’s color, which usually matches the color of the sand in the part of the world where they live.
Stingrays are considered to be carnivores. The prey that they are hunting are other kinds of sea creatures. Typically, stingrays eat crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs, and mollusks such as oysters, mussels, and clams. They have strong jaws on their underside which allow them to crunch up these hard-shelled animals.
Did you know that stingrays give birth to live babies? They typically have about one pregnancy per year. The baby stingray grows inside its mother for a long time. By the time it is born, it looks like a miniature version of an adult stingray, and can fend for itself from the very beginning.
One of the ways stingrays protect themselves is with a sharp stinger on their tail. These stingers are often serrated to cause additional damage to those attacked. Some species of stringray have venom in their stinger. This venom has been known to be dangerous even to large animals and humans.
Stingrays are fascinating creatures. The way they travel through the water is unique to that animal, though other aspects of their biology are not so unique. Like sharks, they are made of cartilage and eat meat, and also like sharks, they can be dangerous to other animals. Unlike sharks, however, stingrays are both predator and prey, not just predator.