Exploring the ocean is one of the most exciting and enjoyable activities to do. There are people who do scuba diving as a form of sport, while for some, it’s an adventure. They do this activity out of curiosity, wanting to see how life exists under the sea and encounter different living species.
One of the reasons people explore the ocean is to see and learn more about those colourful sea creatures such as jellyfish, coral reefs, translucent marine animals, sharks and whales. These are undeniably beautiful to the eye, yet some of them can be harmful.
Stars in the Ocean
Just like in the movies, oceans have their main stars and supporting characters. Stingrays, like sharks, are often known as among the most venomous sea creatures –the villains – because of their capability to kill different animals as well as humans. But, did you know that not all stingrays are dangerous?
Stingrays are usually characterised by their flattened bodies which belong to a group of fish called elasmobranchs. They are often portrayed as deadly, cold-blooded creatures because of their venomous tails that work like a murder weapon. But, just like any other species, stingrays also have an important role to play in the ecosystem they inhabit. According to a study, floor-dwelling stingrays unearth smaller organisms as they displace sand to help animals find their prey of choice, possibly making stingrays key ecosystem members.
It is common for scuba divers to encounter stingrays, especially those which are located in tropical and subtropical areas. There are programs such as PADI dive courses in Auckland which aim to guide scuba divers and train them to become knowledgeable about proper and safe scuba diving. When exploring the ocean, it is important to know which creatures are harmful and which ones are not. Stingrays, for example, are not as bad as sharks. Here are some of the good things you should know about them:
- Dentists use stingray venom as an anaesthetic.
- Stingrays’ eyes are not used for hunting, unlike sharks. They are outfitted with electrical sensors called ampullae of Lorenzini, which sense the natural charges of a potential predator.
- Stingrays are not aggressive. They normally act gentle around humans. The only thing a diver has to worry about is when stingrays feel threatened. Divers must avoid stepping on a ray in shallow water to avoid getting stung.
- Stingrays are good at hiding. They are commonly resting on the sea floor where their habitat can be found. It keeps them hidden from other predators like whales and sharks.
- Stingrays mainly feed on molluscs and sea creatures like crabs, clams, oysters and snails.
- On average, stingrays can live up to 15-25 years.
- Stingrays are edible. In Malaysia and Singapore, they are served grilled with spicy sauces.
Stingrays are among the many amazing sea creatures that a diver can encounter under the sea. They may seem quiet and calm to look at, but it’s still risky to go near them.