Stingray facts

   Stingray is a common name applied to large, marine rays, which constitute the family Dasyatidae. Stingrays are so called because of the large, sharp, often barbed spine which is located at the base of their long, threadlike tails, and which is capable of inflicting a severe wound on an attacker. Although not connected with any poison glands, the sting of these Elasmobranchii often produce a poisonlike reaction, caused by the injection of mucus which is secreted on the outside of the sting. The clamcracker, Pastinachus centrourus, is a common stingray of the American Atlantic coast; this ray feeds chiefly on shellfish. The eagle rays constituting the family AĆ«tobatidae possess defense mechanisms similar to those present in the true stingrays. These creatures, which are found in both fresh and salt water, have large, powerful pectoral fins which somewhat resemble an eagle's wings. The spotted eagle ray, AĆ«tobatus marinari, is common off the southeastern coasts of the United States. It is slightly less than 2 feet wide and is about 1¼ feet long exclusive of the extremely long tail.