The eyes of the stingray are on the top of its body, while its mouth is on the underside of its body. This makes it impossible for a stingray to see what it is eating. Therefore, the stingray relies on its keen sense of smell and the electroreceptors that help it identify its food.


  • The stingray is most recognized for its large, wing-like pectoral fins that make this creature look like it is flying through the water.
  • A stingray’s coloring often reflects the shading of the seafloor. Some species are spotted or shaded.
  • The stinger of the stingray is actually an extension of its spine. The entire spine is covered with a layer of skin where venom is concentrated.
  • The stingray has a greatly depressed disc (roundish, flat body).

Fun Facts

  • Ancient Greek dentists used the venom in the stingray’s spine as an anesthetic.
  • If the stingray loses its stinger, it can grow another one in its place.
  • This species lacks dorsal fins.
  • The stingray respires (“breathes”) by drawing water through a small hole, or spiracle, behind each eye and expelling it through gill slits located under the disc.

CLASS: Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish—sharks, skates, and rays)
ORDER: Myliobatidiformes (rays)
FAMILY: Dasyatididae (stingrays and whiprays)
GENUS/SPECIES: 70 species in 6 genera

Size: Up to 6.5 ft (2 m), without the tail
Weight: Up to 790 lbs (350 kg)
Diet: Worms, carrion, squid, crustaceans
Habitat: Common in tropical coastal waters worldwide; freshwater species in Asia, Africa, and North America