Ocean Currents

7 Rays You Really Should Know

Learn all about the coolest sea pancakes our ocean has to offer

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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.

Southern Stingray

(Hypanus americanus)

Southern Stingray Matthew Potenski
© Matthrew Potenski

Reef Manta Ray

(Manta alfredi)

© Andrea Marshall IUCN Red List Manta Alfredi
© Andrea Marshall / IUCN

Spotted Eagle Ray

(Aetobatus narinari)

Nicholas Lindell Reynolds
© Nicholas Lindell Reynolds

Giant Devil Ray

(Mobula mobular)

Aaron Goulding - Mobula Rays
© Aaron Goulding

Cownose Ray

(Rhinoptera bonasus)

Cownose Rays
© Kirk Kilfoyle

Round Stingray

(Urolophus halleri)

Adam Endicott Round Stingray
© Adam Endicott

Giant Oceanic Manta Ray

(Manta birostris)

Giant Oceanic Manta Ray Guy Stevens : Manta Trust
© Guy Stevens / Manta Trust

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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