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Sting Ray City & Sand Bar, Cayman Islands

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Published on Dec 15, 2010

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The southern stingray, Dasyatis americana, is a stingray of the family Dasyatidae (the Whiptail Stingrays) found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean from New Jersey to Brazil. It has a flat, diamond-shaped disc, with a mud brown/olive/grey dorsal surface and white underbelly (ventral surface) [2]. The barb on its tail is serrated and covered in a venomous mucous; it is used for self defense.
SStringray.jpg

Female stingrays can grow to a disc width of 150cm, contrary to the smaller male stingrays that reach maximum size at 67cm. [3][4]The females are ovoviviparous, three to five pups are usually born per litter after a 5 month pregnancy (may last up to 9 months). It is an opportunistic forager, feeding on small crustaceans, such as alphaeid, penaeid and callianasid shrimp and brachyuran crabs[5]; mollusks, bony fish, and lancelets[6].

In many parts of the Caribbean such as Grand Cayman Island and Antigua, the southern stingray swims with divers and snorkelers, and are hand fed on a locations such as Stingray City and the Sandbar[7]. On Turks & Caicos, you can hand feed the southern stingray at a location called Gibbs Cay. Some have become tame enough to cradle in your arms and feed with pieces of cut up fish. The suction power of their mouth is similar to a very powerful vacuum cleaner.

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