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Ray Bay

Sit back and enjoy the view as these gentle giants glide through the water and are even hand-fed by divers.

What Will You Discover?

Get up close views of several species of remarkable rays as they seemingly fly through the lagoon. Ask questions about these unusual creatures, watch a live feeding, or venture up to Shoreline Gallery for a chance to feel the rays yourself!

White-Blotched River Stingray White-Blotched River Stingray

White-Blotched River Stingray

Most active at night, the white-blotched river stingray can be found on sand banks in the shallows of major rivers and slow-moving tributaries with substrates of mud or sand. They will also move into areas of flooded forest during the annual wet season and can later be found in terrestrial lakes and ponds formed by the receding flood waters.

Conservation Status

Vulnerable

Diet

Crustaceans, worms, mollusks, fish

Range

Xingu River Basin in central Brazil

Did You Know?

Many ray species are ovoviviparous, meaning the female produces eggs that hatch inside her body; the pups then develop inside the mother and are fully formed when they are born. Baby stingrays are about three inches wide at birth.

Ocellate River Stingray Ocellate River Stingray

Ocellate River Stingray

Ocellate river stingrays prefer calm waters with sandy substrate, particularly the edges of brooks, streams and lagoons, where they are often found partially buried with just their eyes poking out. Stingrays have eyes positioned on the dorsal surface of the head and oriented in opposition to one another, giving a nearly 360° field of vision.

Conservation Status

Data Deficient

Diet

Fish, crustacean, mollusks, insects, worms

Range

Amazon, Mearim, and Orinoco River Basins of South America

Did You Know?

The dorsal coloration is typically beige or brown, with numerous yellow-orange spots and dark rings. Its exact color and the arrangement and size of its spots can vary significantly, both from individual to individual and depending on location.

Spotted Eagle Ray Spotted Eagle Ray

Spotted Eagle Ray

The spotted eagle ray is easy to identify with its spotted dorsal surface and whip-like tail. Usually found in bays and near coral reefs, this ray will use its shovel-shaped snout and duck-like bill to search in the sand for invertebrates. When a prey item is found, the ray crushes it with plate-like teeth.

Conservation Status

Endangered

Range

Atlantic Ocean

Diet

Mollusks, worms, crustaceans, fish, snails

Did You Know?

Once thought to be a single species found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters, recent research suggests that the spotted eagle ray is actually three to four distinct species based on geographic location, morphology, genetic analysis, and other factors.

Southern Stingray Southern Stingray

Southern Stingray

Found on reef-adjacent sandy bottoms, seagrass beds, and lagoons, the southern stingray is typically buried in the sand during the day, preferring to forage at night. While buried, this ray uses holes behind the eyes called spiracles to draw in clean water above the sand and pump it across the gills on the underside of the body.

Conservation Status

Near Threatened

Diet

Mollusks, worms, crustaceans, fish

Range

Western Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea

Did You Know?

Southern stingrays will use special electroreceptive pores called ampullae of Lorenzini to locate buried prey items by sensing the faint electric fields emitted by living things. Once buried prey is identified, the ray will use jets of water from their mouth and a digging motion with their wings to excavate and consume its prey.

Roughtail Stingray Roughtail Stingray

Roughtail Stingray

The roughtail stingray is a coastal species that can often be found resting over soft substrate like sand or mud for long periods each day. When hunting, this ray will excavate large depressions in the sand by flapping its body to expose buried fish or invertebrates.

Conservation Status

Vulnerable

Diet

Fish, crustaceans, mollusks

Range

Western Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico

Did You Know?

One of the largest and deepest diving stingrays, the roughtail stingray has been recorded at a weight of 660 pounds and a maximum depth of 900 feet! Adults have rows of sharp thorns along their back, especially focused around and on their tail, though these thorns are absent in juveniles.

Cownose Ray Cownose Ray

Cownose Ray

The cownose ray is a pelagic and gregarious species that forms large schools with thousands of members. It is thought that the cownose ray’s high predation of oyster beds in areas like the Chesapeake Bay could further complicate the problem of declining oyster populations.

Conservation Status

Vulnerable

Diet

Mollusks, crustaceans, fish

Range

Eastern and western Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico

Did You Know?

Cownose rays have a venomous barb at the base of their tails. Captain John Smith learned this the hard way when in 1608 he was stung so severely his crew thought he was going to die. The site on the Rappahannock River where he was stung is still known today as “Stingray Point.”

What's Inside

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