Rays roamed the world’s waters for 150 million years. A ray is not a single species, but rather a group of similar animals. This group includes sawfish, stingrays, manta rays, electric rays, and torpedo rays.
Sawfish mantas live in warm waters like the Caribbean, the African Coast, and the South Pacific Ocean. Manta rays are calm and shy, making them well liked by divers. They can grow up to 20 feet across and are part of the devil ray family. Electric rays consist of 20 different species. They produce electric shots from organs on the side of their heads. Torpedo rays have survived the longest; they coexisted with the dinosaurs.
Rays’ bodies make them very unique creatures. Made out of cartilage, they are light and flexible when they swim. Their skin is more like tiny teeth than like fish scales. Many rays have stingers filled with damaging venom, which protect them from predators.
Despite their long survival, today the ray population is declining. Water pollution and over-fishing are modern hazards that are drastically reducing the ray population. If we are not careful, someday these amazing creatures will be gone forever.
Simpson Street Free Press