Stingray, Atlantic


Dasyatis Sabina


The Atlantic stingray is a small species, reaching a maximum disc width size of around 14.5 inches. They are light brown or yellow in color dorsally and white ventrally. Their rostrum, or snout, is elongated compared to other stingray species. Their gills are located ventrally, with two spiracles located dorsally next to the eyes. Atlantic stingrays have a venomous tail spine, or barb, which is serrated. It is located about one third of the way down their tail. They shed and replace these barbs throughout the year. Males can be distinguished from females by two claspers located with the pelvic fins.

Family

Dasyatidae

Order

Rajiformes

Class

Chondrichthyes

Range

Atlantic Coast from the Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico to Campeche, Mexico

Habitat

Coastal waters, estuarine waters, and occassionally freshwater areas.

Life Expectancy

Some believe Atlantic Stingrays can live up to 9 years, while others believe males live up to 3 years and females up to 4 years.

Sexual Maturity

Sexual maturity is reached at a size of 8" disc width for males, and 9.5" disc width for females.

Diet

In the wild they feed on benthic invertebrates, such as bivalves and crustaceans. In the zoo they are fed a diet of squid, shrimp, and silverside fish.

Status

IUCN - Least Concern

Behaviors

Atlantic stingrays are a euryhaline species, which means they can tolerate a wide range of salinities. They can be found in the St. Johns River in Florida and represent the only permanent freshwater population of elasmobranch found in North America. Atlantic stingrays, which are benthic, feed upon bottom-dwelling crustaceans, bivalves, and fish. They have multiple rows of flat teeth called grinding plates that they use for crushing the shells of their prey. Atlantic stingrays sense their prey using a row of sensory cells called “Ampullae of Lorenzini”. They have a venomous barb located one third of the way down their tail and thorny projections down their back and tail. The barb is used only as a defense mechanism. Breeding season is from October to April and the gestation period lasts anywhere between three and a half to four months. Atlantic stingrays are ovoviviparous, meaning they have live births. Typically they have 1-4 pups per pregnancy. In saltwater habitats, the main predators of Atlantic stingrays are a wide variety of shark species. In freshwater habitats, they may be preyed upon by alligators.

Adaptions

Like sharks and other stingrays, Atlantic stingrays have a row of sensory cells called "Ampullae of Lorenzini" used to sense vibrations of prey and predators.

Special Interests

Stingrays, which are cartilaginous fish, do not possess a swim bladder to control buoyancy like bony fish do. Instead they have an oily liver to aid in buoyancy.

Folklore

Conservation

Jacksonville Zoo History

Our Atlantic Stingrays became a part of our collection in 2011.

Exhibit

Stingray Bay