Dasyatis americana

Habitat: Southern stingrays typically are found on the bottom, lying in the sand.

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be 5 feet across.

Natural history: Southern stingrays are seen swimming slowly over the sand or buried with just their eyes exposed. They are found in sea grass beds and lagoons, and will occasionally swim up onto the reef. A good time to get a closer look is when they are buried in the sand. Maybe they think they are invisible, but they seem to be easier to approach. Stingrays are more active at night, cruising over the sand in search of food. Their mouths are lined with hard plates. They use these plates to grind up clams, crabs, worms, shrimps and reef fishes. Southern stingrays will take advantage of cleaning stations, where Spanish hogfish and Bluehead wrasses will pick them clean of parasites. They have venomous spines on their tails and should not be harassed.

Range: From New Jersey south to Brazil.

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