Description & Behavior

Southern stingrays, Dasyatis americana (Hildebrand and Schroeder, 1928), measure up to about 2 m from wingtip to wingtip and can weigh up to 136 kg. Their disc, or body, has sharp corners and short spines on their upper surface and are olive brown/green in color in adults, gray in juveniles. The underside of their disk is whitish in color. Their tails have a long barb used for defense. They are observed singly, in pairs, or in migrating schools.

World Range & Habitat

Southern stingrays can be found in the western Atlantic from as far north as the coast of New Jersey, around the northern Gulf of Mexico and south to southern Brazil. These stingrays prefer sandy bottoms, seagrass beds, lagoons and reefs, and are often seen near cleaning stations where they are cleaned of parasites by bluehead wrasses and Spanish hogfishes.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Southern stingrays primarily feed at night on bivalves and worms as well as crustaceans and small fishes by flapping their wings to create depressions in sandy bottoms.

Life History

Dasyatis americana is ovoviviparous. This species mating habits include distinct pairing with embrace where the male mounts the female dorsally.

Ovoviviparous: eggs are retained within the body of the female in a brood chamber where the embryo develops, receiving nourishment from a yolk sac. This is the method of reproduction for the “live-bearing” fishes where the pups hatch from their egg capsules inside the mother’s uterus and are born soon afterward. Also known as aplacental viviparous.

Conservation Status & Comments

Southern stingrays are equipped with a serrated spine that is capable of inflicting a painful laceration if the stingrays are provoked.

References & Further Research

Research Dasyatis americana @
Barcode of Life ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS

Search for Southern Stingrays @
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