Stingray

The stingray looks as if it might fly with it's wing-like flippers with which it glides through shallow coastal waters. In fact, Dragonfly Science editor Hays Cummins, and on-line editor Christopher Wolfe once saw a Spotted Eagle Ray jump 1 meter out of the water when hooked by an angler. Fortunately, it was released unharmed.

A ray has no bones, and is made mainly of cartilage. The stingray stays close to the sandy ocean floor, where it hovers over it's prey. Because it lingers so close to the sand, it is easy to step on these creatures. The Stingray uses its tail for defense from enemies such as sharks. Sometimes when disturbed, they will lash out with their tail and attempt to sting any creature that may be a threat. Look out! The stingray's tail has spines and the edges resemble a serrated knife. In the past the native peoples of the Pacific region used the stingray's tail to make spears and knives because of it's ability to tear flesh. Dr. Cummins father, an artist, has been known to use the spines from stingray as an artist's pen.

This photo comes to us from Beliz Online.

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Learn more about marine life at Hays Cummins' Tropicl Marine Ecology Pages

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