Fishy February; A-Z of a Mermaid's Friends (R)
R - Ray
Mr Ray!! Climb aboard explorers! 🌎 Let’s name the zones, the zones, the zones, let’s name the zones of the open sea! 🎶 There’s epipelagic, mesopelagic, bathyal, abyssopelagic; all the rest are too deep for you and me to see! 🌊🙊 Mr Ray is a White-Spotted Eagle Ray, but there are around 600 species of Rays around the world, making them the largest group of cartilaginous fish! They’re closely related to Sharks, and they all fall under the same classification of Elasmobranchs. 🦈 Did you know that not all Rays, are Rays?! Some are Skates - even though they have Ray in their name (like the Thornback Ray and Blonde Ray). Though most UK species are Skates, we do have Common Stingrays too! And not all Rays are Stingrays! But this one is - a Southern Stingray! 📷 Southern Stingrays are around 4ft wide, but their tails can grow to be twice as long as their body. They tend to live down to around 55m, and prefer lagoon or coral reef habitats with sandy bottoms and seagrass beds. To locate food, they use electroreceptors on their snouts, as well as their excellent sense of smell and touch. You can even create static electricity, which Rays can sense, by rubbing your hands together! 🖐 Stingrays are known for their stinging barbs, and are often feared, yet they are actually very docile. If threatened, they can raise their tails and stab a predator with their barb, but they are much more likely to just swim away. While all true Skates are ovoviviparous; which means their young are hatched from eggs, better known as “mermaid’s purses” 👛 , Rays like the Southern Stingray give birth to live young! Take part in the Shark Trust Great Eggcase Hunt, and report any eggcases you find on the beach!