With more than 600 species, it could get really confusing to differentiate them from one another as some of these rays share common resemblances amongst them. They have mouths and gills on their bellies, eyes that are located on the top of their heads normally, and flat disc-like bodies and a long whip-like tail.
Interesting Types of Rays
Here are the types of rays that you will find interesting.
Oceanic manta ray
These rays can grow at least 23 feet from wing tip to wing tip. They can weigh up to 4,000 pounds, which tends to be impressive. Oceanic manta rays love to inhabit the warm tropical waters; they also prefer to spend their time on the surface and 400 feet deep in the ocean.
They can be distinguished easily because of the large markings they have on their backs. They include black and white patches right above their shoulders. Their one unique feature is their horns that are located on either side of their mouths.
These Electric rays are very much capable of knocking a person unconscious. They are aggressive and are known to chase divers often. There are only a few existing natural predators for them because of their electric defense mechanism.
Their 2 kidney-shaped organs are located on their backs. They can produce from eight to two hundred twenty volts of electricity. You can find them near sandy or muddy sea floors and they disguise themselves in the sand to wait and ambush an incoming prey with their electric shock.
Spotted eagle ray
These types of rays are usually found in temperature and warm waters. They have strong swimming skills, which means they can travel up to long distances across waters. These rays migrate seasonally depending on the water's temperature.
Furthermore, these rays are distinguished easily through their long and broad snout and their friendly faces. They also have plate-like mouths, which allows them to eat their prey.
Last but not least, number one on our list is the Shark ray, a lonely creature that chooses to swim on their own. You can find them on muddy sea beds that are close to the coral reef areas of the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. As these rays grow old, their color changes along with their age.
They start with a very dark color and slowly lightens up to expose light brown color - or taupe-colored bodies, covered in attractive white spots. These are used as camouflage. They also have pectoral fins and nape, covered in small sharp thorns, used as their protection. These make horns also look quite prehistoric.
Blue spotted stingray
Blue-spotted stingrays, also known as the Ribbintail ray, are commonly seen in aquariums because of their attractive colors. Unfortunately, they don't live long in captivity. You can find them in tropical waters through the Indo-Pacific.
They are fairly small, and come with an average size of around 12 inches in length. These rays are incredibly shy. They usually swim away quickly when they see snorkelers and divers. However, don't belittle these shy rays; their long tails have two venomous spines hiding, which gives them off a painful sting.
Reef manta ray
Reef manta rays are the world's 2nd largest types of rays, with a wingspan of about 14 feet. They are often called the "Birds of the Sea", with their fins like a triangle resembling bird’s wings.
In addition, the upper body of these rays has a dorsal fin that is small. Their fins can be easily mistaken for a dolphin or shark. A black or grey with white underside is the common color of a Reef manta ray.
They may be named Devil rays, but it does not mean that these rays are a menace in the ocean. Their name originated from their horns that point forward rather than curling around their mouths as Manta rays do.
These types of rays came from the Mobula family, wherein the Spotted eagle and Manta ray are included. They are widespread and found usually anywhere in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and Western Pacific. Devil Rays are considered remarkable divers. This makes them among the fastest marine species.
Southern stingrays can be found in coral reef areas and sandy bottom lagoons. They are different from other species of rays, as these Southern stingrays aren’t afraid of people.
They are friendly to a point wherein a group of these rays would swim happily right towards a human out of their curiosity. They have a flat and diamond-shaped appearance, and their body color on the upper part comes in a solid dark grey or brown color.
Butterfly rays are known for their ability to change colors that blend in with their surroundings. Their name Butterfly ray originated from their disc’s shape - which is wider than long. Their beautiful body patterns often contain dark and white swirls and come with dots over dark green base or grey.
Other rays have long venomous tails, but Butterfly rays have short tails that are not venomous. Like Electric rays, they also disguise themselves when they are sands, waiting to ambush their prey.
Pelagic stingrays can look like the bottom-dwelling rays, yet they are not found rolling on the seabed. You can find them flying around the ocean. They desire temperate waters and are well known for migrating anywhere in the world.
These rays own a distinguishing wedge-shaped disc, either a dark blue or deep purple color. They also have a whip-like stinging tail that is at least double the length of their bodies.
Rays are some of the most beautiful and unique sea animals on the planet. As mentioned earlier, 600 species of rays exist today, each with its quirks and abilities. We hope that you will be able to get lucky enough to witness one of their species in the flesh one day. It won't be a sight you will forget any time soon, but do be careful not to step on one.
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