When watching the Smooth Stingray elegantly gliding through the water it is easy to make comparisons to the graceful flight of birds.
When watching the Smooth Stingray elegantly gliding through the water it is easy to make comparisons to the graceful flight of birds. With its large flat body and wing span of at least two metres, Smooth Stingrays are the largest of all stingrays.
Beware of the Barb!
A distinctive feature of any stingray is its long, serrated stinging barb or spine. The Smooth Stingray’s barb is found on the top of its short tail and is used as a defensive weapon. It has a habit of resting with the barb facing upwards, like a scorpion’s tail, as a warning to predators. Smooth Stingrays are actually very docile creatures that are rarely aggressive unless they feel vulnerable.
Smooth Stingrays are like flying metal detectors, scouring the ocean floors and hunting down prey that could not be detected using conventional senses like sight or smell. This seemingly psychic ability is actually due to electromagnetic sensors that are found on both rays and sharks. Scattered pores on the stingray’s head lead to what is known as ampullae, which are connected to the nerves. These detect the weak electrical current emitted by hiding fish, giving the rays a ‘sixth ‘sense’. Stingrays are thought to be so sensitive to electric fields they can detect the earth’s magnetic field and use it to navigate over long distances.
Smooth Stingray Fast Facts:
- Common Name: Smooth Stingray
- Scientific Name: Dasyatis brevicaudata
- Habitat: Estuaries, shallow bays, inlets, rocky reefs and the open sea floor
- Diet: Crustaceans, molluscs and other invertebrates
- Size: Up to 4.3m
- Range: Southern Australia
- Threats: Over-fishing
- Conservation Status: Least concern