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Ocellate river stingray

  • SEA LIFE Constance, Rainforest

About rays

Not only in our oceans but also in rivers there are almost 500 species of rays. Did you know that their nearest relatives are sharks? Just like sharks, rays have no skeleton. Their whole skeleton is made of cartilage and therefore very flexible. (On human bodies, for example, the nose and ears are made of cartilage.) The cartilage skeleton makes it easier for rays to glide through the water. They look like a bird flapping its wings.

Did you know that rays are masters of camouflage? They can adapt their coloration to the seabed and thus merge with it. With their very flat body, they hide from predators on the sea floor. However, if they feel threatened, they can also strike with their tail! Some species therefore have additional poisonous spines on their tail. In ancient Greece, dentists used the stings of rays as an anaesthetic!