Interesting Facts About Stingrays: They Don’t Have Bones Like Other Fish!

With flat, wide bodies, stingrays may not look like fish, but they are! Though they may not resemble the finned friends in your fish tank at home, stingrays belong to a group of fish called elasmobranchs. Stingrays are diverse group of fish characterized by flattened bodies.
Stingrays come in all shapes and sizes and are one of the most beautiful creatures in the sea, but let’s face it, they are a little bizarre looking!
They can be found in oceans in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. Stingrays like warm and shallow water. Most of their time, they will be hidden on the ocean floor. There are 60 different species of stingrays. Some of them are threatened.
Check out these interesting and surprising facts about Stingrays:
1. Stingrays use a super set of senses to search for food. Special gel-filled pits across the front of their face, (called Ampullae of Lorenzini), allow them to pick up electrical signals from other animals when they move – cool!
Their eyes are on the topside of their body and their mouth and gills can be found underneath, so in the darker depths or murky rivers this electromagnetic sense is especially useful for searching for prey.
2. Stingrays are inactive for the vast majority of time. They can usually be found lying on the ocean floor, partially buried in the sand. Any visible movement is generally the result of the sway of the tide.
When they do move purposely, however, stingrays usually undulate their bodies in a wavelike movement. Some stingrays will flap their sides, much like wings. Although a stingray’s tail can be used to help it maneuver in the water, its main purpose is for protection.
3. Because they tend to be quite large, stingrays do not have many natural predators. By lying on the ocean floor, usually partially covered in sand, stingrays are generally able to hide quite well from potential predators. A stingray’s main predators, apart from humans, are sea lions, sharks, seals, and large carnivorous fish.
4. The biggest stingray weighs nearly 800 pounds. Short-tailed stingrays, known as Dasyatis brevicaudata, are found off the southern coasts of Africa and Australia. They can reach 770 pounds in weight and grow 14 feet in length.
The giant freshwater stingray (Himantura chaophraya) grows to be quite monstrous as well. In March, fisherman in Thailand’s Mae Klong River caught a 14-foot stingray that weighed between 600 and 800 pounds. It was one of the largest freshwater fish ever captured.
5. Stingrays might look gentle, but their venom can be fatal. Stingrays are usually found lying on the ocean floor. They might appear calm and gentle, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous.
The spine of a stingray, which is also known as a barb, can have serrated edges and a sharp point. The spine itself can be dangerous to humans. The underside may produce the stingray’s venom. This venom can be fatal for humans. In addition, the venom remains deadly even after the stingray’s death.
6. Their eyes are located on the top of the head, but they don’t use eyes to find prey. Stingrays have electro-sensors which help them detect electrical charges that prey emits.
7. They swim by moving flippers up and down. These movements are similar with movements of the wings in birds and it is sometimes said that stingrays “fly” through the water.
8. Mouths are located on the bottom side of their body. When they catch clams, shrimps, and mussels, they will crash and eat them using their powerful jaws.
9. Stingrays are generally very solitary creatures. However, groups of stingrays have sometimes been observed swimming together. A group of stingrays is called a school.
10. Stingrays do not have bones like other fish. Instead, stingrays are cartilaginous, much like sharks. This cartilage supports their entire body. Stingrays have a flat round shape thanks to the large fins that run the length of their bodies.

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