We are only a few weeks away from the opening of the SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium. I was able to attend a media event last week and thought I would get everyone excited with a few pictures and fun facts about one of the sea creatures that will call the aquarium home: stingrays!
Fishy Fact #1: Are stingrays fish?
Yes, stingrays are fish. They do not have any bones but instead have cartilage in their bodies. (Cartilage is what people have in the outer part of their ear that helps it keep it's shape.) Stingrays also have gills and use their large fins to move through the water.
Fishy Fact #2: Do stingrays really sting?
Stingrays use their tails to defend themselves. If a stingray is scared or feels threatened, it will use its tail to deliver a sharp 'poke' to keep itself safe. Some stingrays also have venom in their tail which is dangerous to other animals and humans. If you are 'poked' by a stingrays tail, it will sting or hurt very much, but stingrays rarely hurt humans.
Fishy Fact #3: What does a stingray eat?
Stingrays have eyes on the top of their body and a mouth underneath (see the photo above). Many rays like to stay near the bottom of the ocean and find their food on the ocean floor. Stingrays like to eat things like clams, crabs, mussels and worms.
Fishy Fact #4: Can stingrays fly?
It may look like they have wings, but those are fins. A stingray moves much of it's body in order to swim through the water. When the stingray moves its fins up and down, they look like they 'have wings' or 'fly in the water'.
Fishy Fact #5: Why do they all swim together?
Some species of stingrays swim in 'schools' just like fish. In the fish world, a school is a large group of fish that swim together. But not all stingrays swim in schools; some will swim alone in the ocean. The cownosed rays that live at SEA LIFE Kansas City do school.
Fun Things to Notice about Stingrays:
- They have a different color of skin on the top of their body than they do underneath.
- Their body is a fun diamond shape - great if you're kids are learning about shapes.
- If you look at them from underneath, sometimes they look like they are smiling.
What do you find so interesting about stingrays?