Stingrays: Southern Stingray

SOUTHERN STINGRAY
Hypanus americanus

 

Southern Stingray
 

Identification
Color brownish dorsally and whitish ventrally. Disc broad angular (rhomboid) with pointed corners. Snout moderate, not protrusive. Spine near base of long whip like tail. Well-developed ventral fin fold on tail, dark brown to black in color. Dorsal fin fold on tail absent.

Habitat and Behavior
Inhabits coastal waters including ocean beaches, bays, estuaries, and river mouths. Generally found near shore on grass and sand/mud flats but does venture into deeper coastal waters up to ~200 feet. Observed singly, in pairs, and in aggregations.

Feeding
Benthic feeder. Feeds mainly on bivalves and marine worms and also takes shrimp, crabs, and small fishes.

Reproduction
Aplacental viviparity. Up to seven pups per litter.

Size
Wingspan of 4-5 feet and weigh up to around 200 pounds.

Human Factors
Non-aggressive species of little danger to humans except for their defensive venomous barb located near the base of the tail. Avoid handling or exercise extreme caution. Do the "Stingray Shuffle" to reduce the chance of stepping on these rays and risking possible injury from their spine.



FWC Facts:
After reaching sexual maturity at 4-7 years, female manatees give birth to an average of one calf every 2-3 years. The calf stays with its mother for up to 2 years.

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