by Kaza Ansley


Stingrays live in Puget Sound,
but they also live almost all over the world. There are more than 100 species
of stingray, ranging in size between 1-15 feet across, and weighing from
1-750 pounds. They are all able to inflict a severe wound with their tail
and sword-like poisonous spine.

Stingrays like to live in shallow
water and prefer to be buried in soft sand or mud. They are strong, active
swimmers, end move quickly through the water with their large fins. Stingrays
are commonly found in areas like bays, estuaries, and sloughs.

Some scientists believe that,
at the beginning of winter, stingrays make long migrations to places where
there are warmer waters. But others think that they bury themselves under
the soft seabed and sand and spend the winter hibernating. Anyway, stingrays
are usually found in colder waters during the summer.

Not very much is known about
stingrays mating behavior. Although it is known that stingrays produce two
to nine young which hatch from an egg inside the female’s body. As they
are beginning to develop, the babies feed from the yolk. Later, they take
in food that is secreted through the female’s uterine web. Most stingrays
are born in late spring or early summer.

People have been killed by stingrays,
often as a result of standing on one buried in the sand, and being struck
by its lashing tail and spine. When the fish is disturbed in any way, it
thrashes its tail, along with its spine, from side to side. Even though
the spine is rigid, the tail is so flexible, that together they make a great
defense weapon that has been known to seriously injure or kill unsuspecting

Stingrays mainly feed on worms,
mollusks, and crustaceans, which they dig out of the seabed. Bigger stingrays
may also eat dead fish and squid. The stingray’s mouth is on the underside
of its body. Its wide jaws and several rows of blunt and hard teeth are
used to crush the shells of their prey. Even though the stingray muddy colors
are a good camouflage, it usually give its presence away by creating a cloud
of sediment in the water.

Many things are not known about
stingrays. Stingray’s spines have been used to make spear tips, daggers,
needles, and awls. When stingrays are caught in commercial fishing nets,
the fishermen sometimes cut off the spines before putting them back in the
sea. Hammerhead sharks often prey on small to medium sized stingrays. A
few scientists believe that the strange hammer-shaped head of the shark
has evolved to keep its head clear of the lashing tail and poisonous spine
of the stingray.