Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Southern Stingray

Life of Sea | Southern Stingray | Southern stingray, Dasyatis americana, is a stingray of the family Dasyatidae found in tropical and subtropical waters of the western Atlantic from New Jersey to Brazil. Southern stingrays can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean from the north to the coast of New Jersey, around the northern Gulf of Mexico and south to southern Brazil. These rays prefer sandy bottoms, seagrass beds, lagoons and reefs, and are often seen near cleaning stations where they are cleaned of parasites by blue head wrasse and Spanish hogfishes. The southern stingray is adapted for life on the seabed. 

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Chondrichthyes
Subclass:     Elasmobranchii
Order:     Myliobatiformes
Family:     Dasyatidae
Genus:     Dasyatis
Species:     D. americana

Southern stingrays have a diamond disc which is dark brown, gray or black on top and white underneath. This helps southern stingrays camouflage themselves in the sand, where they spend most of their time. The disc, or the body has sharp angles and short spines on their upper surface and are olive brown / green color in adults, gray at young people. The underside of the disc whitish color. Their tails are long beard is used for defense. They are recorded separately in pairs or in schools migrate. Southern stingrays have a long, whip-like tail with a barb at the end that they use for the defense, but they rarely use against humans unless provoked. Female Southern stingrays can lead to a disk width of 150 cm, as opposed to the smaller male stingrays that reach maximum size 67 cm. 

Southern stingray is an opportunistic forager, feeding on small crustaceans, such alphaeid, penaeid shrimps and callianasid and brachyuran crabs, molluscs, bony fish, and lets lance. It feeds by flapping wing-like pectoral fins to disturb the sand and expose prey.Southern stingrays are attacked by sharks and other fish. Their primary predator is the hammerhead shark. This bottom-dwelling species is often found alone or in pairs, except in summer, when it migrates in schools to higher latitudes. Little is known about the mating behavior of southern stingrays, as it is not often seen in the wild. A paper in Environmental Biology of Fishes reported that a man a woman engaged in "pre-copulatory 'bite followed, and then the two linked. Females may mate with several males in the same breeding season. 

In many parts of the Caribbean such as Grand Cayman Island and Antigua, the Southern stingray swims with divers and snorkelers, and are hand fed on locations such as Stingray City and the Sandbar. A large ecotourism industry has grown up around the southern stingrays. Stingray City in the Cayman Islands is a popular destination for tourists, who come to observe and feed the swarms of stingrays that gather. While stingrays animals are mostly nocturnal, research in 2009 showed that the organized power is the stingrays to ensure that instead of eating during the night, they eat all day and sleep all night.

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