The mysterious world of the stingray
A stingray has a flat disk shaped body with long tails that are flexible and in some species have a saw type of edge with venomous spines. There are two known families of stingray the Dasyatid and the Urolophid. The Dasyatid also known as the whip-tailed rays can be found in some South American rivers and live in all the oceans. They range in sizes from a mere ten inches to up to seven feet.
The Urolophid also known as round stingrays are much smaller than the Dasyatid family and are found in the Western Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Stingrays prefer the warm tropical or temperate waters where they are often found in large numbers. When the waters start to cool off the stingray will swim further into the ocean's depths.
They partially bury themselves in shallow waters of the ocean floor, often causing extensive damage to shellfish beds because their main sources of food are worms, mollusks and various other invertebrates. The stingray uses its tail to stop its prey from escaping. Their tails are so powerful that when they thrash around they have been known to drive their spined tails into wooden boats. If stepped on they can cause serious and painful wounds, which could result in death depending on where their tails enter the individual's body. It is believed that the stingray fish is closely related to sharks. There are some stingrays that grow as large as fourteen feet long in the deep ocean these have much longer tails that puts off a much larger sting than the smaller stingrays who dwell in shallower waters. The size of the stinger is dependent on the size of the ray's body. Being a carnivous fish the stingray does not eat feed on plants the larger rays include crabs, snails, oysters, clams and a variety of fish in their diets.
The stingray like all other animals can become prey to sharks, sea lions, seals, large carnivorous fish, and humans. They have a natural advantage against these larger animals being a bottom dweller; they are able to hide from these predators. The breeding season for the stingray is wintertime. The female gives life after about nine months and gives live birth to five and fifteen babies. After they are born the little stingrays immediately join their mother hunting prey.