The yellow stingray (Urobatis jamaicensis) has a special place in TFUI founder Melissa’s heart… mainly because it was the first (and only) stingray she has ever held in her hands! If she was able to hold it, that means it must be small… and it is! They only get up to 36 cm wide (called disc width).
They are almost perfectly round until their rounded pelvic fins, have no dorsal fins on their teeny tiny cute tail that stops being so cute when you see the venomous spine near their small caudal (tail) fin. Yellow stingrays prefer sandy bottoms and are found in a variety of patterns, which is great camouflage when buried in the sand to ambush their next meal. What do they eat? Probably a similar diet to their relative the round ray, U. helleri, which eats worms, crabs or small fish.
A coastal critter, this batoid likes to stay nearshore in bays and estuaries throughout the western Atlantic from North Carolina down to the northern coast of South America. These little rays give birth to litters of 2 to 5 pups in shallow coastal lagoons and seagrass. Do these rays have any predators? Yup! Basically rule in any large carnivorous fish, especially sharks such as the tiger shark, as a potential predator.
While it is not targeted by commercial fisheries, the yellow stingray could be taken as bycatch in nearshore fisheries throughout its range. And while not a target in fisheries, it is collected for the marine aquarium trade. How much pressure that puts on the species is unknown, but the IUCN has assessed them as Least Concern (LC) due to their large range.
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE JAWSOME ANIMALS? SO DO WE!
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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