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Sharks & Rays

Page 3

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Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)
Whale Shark
(Rhincodon typus)

The whale shark is one of the largest of all the shark species. In fact, it is the largest fish in the world, growing to a length of over 40 feet. In spite of its huge size, however, the whale shark is completely harmless. This shark uses special organs in its gill bars to filter microscopic plankton from the water. It can be found throughout most of the world's tropical and temperate oceans.

Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana)
Southern Stingray
(Dasyatis americana)

The southern stingray is one of the more common stingray species along the Atlantic coast of the United States. The tail of this species carries one or two sharp spines, which can deliver a powerful toxic sting. This ray is a bottom feeder, and is often found buried in the sand along the ocean floor.

Blue Spotted Stingray (Taeniura lymma)
Blue Spotted Stingray
(Taeniura lymma)

The blue spotted stingray is a common favorite with aquarium owners. This is a beautiful species, with brightly colored blue spots on its body. It is a relatively small ray, and can usually be kept successfully in an aquarium environment. This ray can be found on sandy ocean bottoms near coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea to southern Australia.

Lesser Electric Ray (Narcine brasilienis)
Lesser Electric Ray
(Narcine brasilienis)

The lesser electric ray is a species that is capable of producing a powerful electric shock. This animal can produce between 14 and 37 volts, enough to give a diver a strong jolt. The ray uses this special ability to stun its prey as well as for defense from predators. It feeds on small bottom-dwelling invertebrates. The lesser electric ray is found in the western Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina to Argentina.

Pacific Manta Ray (Manta hamiltoni)
Pacific Manta Ray
(Manta hamiltoni)

There are few sites in the ocean as beautiful as the graceful flight of the manta ray through the clear, blue waters. This magnificent animal can have a wingspan in excess of 15 feet. Although this animal is also called the devil ray, it is completely harmless to humans. Unlike its stingray cousins, the manta ray has no sting. Manta rays feed mainly on plankton and small schooling fish.

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