What are stingrays?
Stingrays are unique fish that are infamous around the world for their venomous ‘stings’ or ‘barbs’. There are around 70 species of stingrays in the world.
Stingrays thrive in shallow waters and warm climate and are found around the globe. Stingrays come in various sizes; they may be as small as a few inches or up to 5 to 7 feet long. Stingrays are carnivorous and feast on small crabs, mollusks, snails, oysters and clams.
Where do stingrays live?
Stingrays are shy creatures and they spend most of their time hiding on the ocean floor. Contrary to their notorious reputation of attacking humans, they use their stings only to defend themselves. Whenever a stingray is scared or feels threatened, it uses its tail to ‘poke’ its enemy. Ouch!
Are stingrays poisonous to humans?
Famous wildlife expert Steve Irwin, who was known for handling and studying some of the most dangerous animals on the planet, was killed in a freak accident under the water in 2006. It was a stingray that was responsible for his death! Human deaths caused by stingray venom are extremely rare, because though the venom results in excruciating pain, it is not usually fatal. Unfortunately, in Steve’s case, the stinger had pierced his heart which took his life.
7 Interesting facts about stingrays
- Stingrays do not have any bones! Their bodies are made up of cartilage, the same material that our ears and nose are made up of.
- When stingrays move their big fins up and down to move ahead in water, it seems they are flying like birds!
- Stingrays have a unique diamond-shaped body.
- If you look at stingrays from the bottom, it seems as if they are smiling.
- In the past, peoples used the spines of sting rays to make weapons like daggers.
- Ancient Greek people used the stingray venom as an anaesthetic.
- Stingrays do not use their eyes to find prey. They have special electro-sensors that detect electrical charges emitted from the body of a nearby potential prey, and tell them about the location of the prey.
What are manta rays?
Manta rays are the largest rays and closely related to the stingrays. Despite of being nicknamed as ‘devilrays’ and ‘devilfish’ and ‘giant manta’, they are harmless and do not have any stinging spine. They are graceful swimmers and can display interesting acrobatic tricks in the water. They may measure up to 29 feet in width and weigh as good as 1300 kgs. Whoa! That is quite a lot!
3 Interesting facts about manta rays
- Manta rays lose their protective mucous membrane when touched by humans.
- Manta rays are closely related to sharks. Ironically, it is the sharks who love to eat them the most! Relations have no value for certain creatures!!
- The name ‘Manta’ means ‘blanket’ because this creature resembles a blanket as it moves around in the water.