Stingrays belong to a group of animals referred to as sea rays even though there are also freshwater species of stingrays. These fish have bones in their bodies and are instead made up entirely of cartilage (like sharks). There are over 220 different species of stingrays.
Stingrays have flat bodies and a long tail that’s usually barbed/covered in spikes. Though they are docile creatures, a stingray will sting potential threats or predators. Their sting is also venomous though there are only but a few reported cases of fatality. They typically live in warm tropical or subtropical waters and hunt mostly mollusks, worms, crustaceans, fish, clams, crabs, and shrimps. Stingrays spend much of their time partially buried on the ocean floor. This is to avoid predators and some only move about at night to look for food.
Stingrays swim by moving their bodies in a wave-like pattern or by relying on their wing-like fins to propel them forward by using a flap-like pattern as if gliding through the ocean. They are generally solitary and only come together in social groups or pairs to mate.
Female stingrays carry their young (called pups) inside of their bodies until they are developed. They give birth to live pups that resemble adult rays but only smaller in size. Females can give birth to between 1 and 15 pups at a time.
Their main predators include larger fish like shark, humans (who hunt them for their leather or to eat them). Interestingly, fossil records of stingrays date back to the Jurassic era – 150 million years ago. Check out the articles below for more interesting facts about stingrays and their habitat.