Planet Earth

Australiana #5 - Stingrays

Not Exactly Rocket ScienceBy Ed YongNov 30, 2008 1:00 PM

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Following last week's parrotfish, here's another underwater snap taken at the Whitsunday Islands. This is a bluespot stingray, and it was later joined by a second individual.

More pics and a video beneath the fold...

A video of the same ray...

And another species, the cowtail ray, spotted at Whitehaven Beach. It's facing the camera with the long tail trailing off towards the top of the shot. From a high outlook, we managed to see tens of these swimming about in the shallow water. I wanted to see if I could see one up close and this individual was just sitting there as I walked up to the water

Cowtail rays are apparently responsible for the highest number of stingings in Australian waters, partially because its body is quite flexible, its tail is very long (as the picture shows), and the sting is set right back on it. All of that means that this particualr ray has a very large attack radius. That being said, I stuck one toe in the water and it shot off immediately. The most dangerous rays we saw on holiday were the ones that sunscreen protected us from.

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