Yellow stingrays have flat bodies with large, rounded, flat fins that they undulate to help them swim through the water. They stay close to the ocean floor, which is where most of their food lives. By Markus from Sarasota via Wikimedia Commons
Yellow stingrays are fish with flat bodies and flat, round fins. They live in warm, shallow ocean waters where the ocean floor is sandy or muddy. They have yellow and brown spots all over the tops of their bodies, while their undersides are white or pale yellow. They grow to be about two feet wide. The name stingray comes from their long, thin tails that have venomous spines. Stingrays use their tails to defend themselves against sharks and other predators.
A yellow stingray’s mouth is on the underside of its body, while its eyes are on top. The stingray eats food that lives on the bottom of the ocean, such as shrimp, underwater worms, small fish, and clams. So how does it find its food if it can’t see it?
Stingrays wave their wide fins as they move along the bottom of the ocean, which stirs up sand and mud. As the sand moves, small animals that the ray eats are sometimes uncovered. The stingray has a well-developed sense of feel that helps it find these animals underneath it on the ocean floor. It even has the ability to sense very weak electric signals that are created by other animals and follow those signals to the animal.
Yellow stingrays may also capture their food by tricking it. People have observed stingrays arching their flat bodies off the bottom of the ocean, which makes the space between the ray and the ocean floor look like a small cave or an opening in a rock. When a small fish takes shelter in what it thinks is a cave, the ray eats it up!
Yellow stingrays are common in the areas in which they live. Sharks and other large fish are the main animals that eat stingrays. People do not actively fish for yellow stingrays, but the rays may be accidentally caught in fishing nets. Yellow stingrays are unlikely to sting a human unless they feel threatened. People most often get stung when they accidentally step on a well-camouflaged stingray that is resting on the ocean floor.
This map shows the area of the world where yellow stingrays live. The area is marked in blue, and it is the ocean around Florida, the Caribbean Islands, and the Gulf of Mexico. By Yzx via Wikimedia Commons. See link below.
The markings on yellow stingrays make them very difficult to see in some of their surroundings. Can you see the stingray in this picture? By Ute via Wikimedia Commons. See link below.
For references, please see the above links and the following books:
Kells, Val and Kent Carpenter. A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes: From Maine to Texas. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.
Ocean. New York, NY: DK Publishing, 2006. Pp. 324-337.