ROD and Pauline McGregor stumbled across this huge stingray (measuring approximately 2.4 metres from head to tail) at Cape Paterson’s First Surf Beach last weekend, giving us a glimpse of the majestic marine animals from an angle seldom seen.

Photos of the belly-up ray, believed to be a female, show its plate-like teeth, adapted for crushing prey including worms, shrimp, squid, small fish, clams, oysters, sea snails and other creatures found on the seafloor. You can also see its nostrils, gill slits, anus, pelvic fins, and tail.

 

With their eyes on top of their bodies and their mouths on the undersides, stingrays can’t see their prey and instead use smell and electro-receptors (like radar).

Often found in shallow water, stingrays are inquisitive and playful and essentially harmless sea creatures. They can cause injury if you accidentally stand on them or hover above while diving; but because humans are not on their food chain, they will not attack unless they feel cornered.

Stingrays can be legally caught and kept in Victorian waters by fishermen as a food source, however, they contain little if any edible meat.

While this particular animal’s cause of death is unknown, the greatest threat to stingrays is humans – with many species of rays

declining significantly in abundance in the last few decades due in part to over-exploitation by direct and indirect fisheries.

Source of information: Wikipedia, Fisheries Victoria, Australian Museum, Australian Geographic 2012 (1), Fishes of Australia, the Mornington News, PortPhillipMarineLife.net and Bay Fish N Trips Pty Ltd.