Have you ever walked along a beach in Florida and noticed a sign that says “Do the Stingray Shuffle?” These fascinatingly flat and cartilaginous fish species love gliding along the seafloor, so they can be easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. In an effort to protect both rays and people, many beaches have erected signs like the “stingray shuffle” warnings to pleasantly remind beachgoers to shuffle their feet along the sand as they walk through the water, so as to give any rays potentially in the area a good warning that there’s company nearby. As you enter or come near the home of animals like rays, it’s important to know tips like this in order to respect their space and keep them as happy, healthy and undisturbed as possible.
However, it may surprise you to find out just how much biodiversity there is when it comes to rays. These animals are elasmobranchs, and part of a superorder of about 600 species, referred to as Batoidea. While all of these animals can be appropriately referred to as “rays,” there are a handful of particularly iconic species to know. I’m here to introduce you to seven of these, and to be honest, they’re some of the most fabulously flat creatures to ever grace the ocean floor.
Reef Manta Ray
Spotted Eagle Ray
Giant Devil Ray
Giant Oceanic Manta Ray
And there you have it: seven incredible ray species that grace our ocean. No matter which of these is your favorite, we can all work to help protect them and the waters they call home. Join our email list today to stay up-to-date on the latest ways to help make sure these animals stay healthy and thriving.
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