Stingrays are rays that belong to Myliobatiformes and can be found in coastal tropical and subtropical water all over the world. They are actually the largest freshwater species, known to be over 16 feet long and weighing nearly 800 pounds.
In pop culture, it is probably the most famous for killing everyone’s favorite Steve Irwin in 2006. However, these beautiful and graceful beasts are not really aggressive. They only attack and use their venomous stingers if provoked or stepped on.
The stingrays are masters of disguise, they dig themselves beneath the sand and blend with the environment thanks to their color and their flat bodies. They feed on small fish, mollusks, and crustaceans, using their smell and electro-receptors to detect the prey.
Thanks to this ability to camouflage, the stingrays can also conceal themselves from the predators. So next time you walk into the ocean, make sure you don’t step your foot on one of these stealthy beasts.
Thanks to their calm nature, many tourist resorts offer swimming with the rays as an attraction, especially in the Cayman Islands. Passing a flock of stingrays is definitely one of the most mesmerizing moments a person can experience. Many water parks also create a stingray habitat where people can safely see this incredible creature in close.
Uses of Stingray
One of the main reasons for fishing stingrays is their culinary value. There are many great recipes all over the world from dried stingray wings to grilled stingray. Even though people fish them for food, they also hunt them to protect shell fishing grounds.
Their skin is also an extremely popular source of leather for its strength, texture, durability and exotic look. It’s worth noting that they are not hunted just for the skin since the fishermen used to throw it away. This way, one stingray gets much more use and it’s easier to keep it sustainable.
Stingrays are also closely related to sharks and similar to their relatives. They’ve been living on this planet for millions of years. With regulated and sustainable fishing, we can prolong their species for many more years, especially if we get to know more about them.