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Any of various species (family Dasyatidae) of rays noted for their slender, whiplike tail with barbed, usually venomous spines. Most species inhabit warm seas; a few live in the rivers of South America. Species range in width from 10 in. (25 cm) to 7 ft (2 m). Stingrays eat worms, mollusks, and other invertebrates. These bottom-dwellers often lie partially buried in the shallows, lashing their tail when disturbed. Large stingrays can drive their tail spines into a wooden boat. The spines cause serious, extremely painful wounds that, if abdominal, may be fatal.
Variants of STINGRAY
stingray or whip-tailed ray
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on stingray, visit Britannica.com.