Florida is home a wide variety of beautiful of sea creatures, one of which is the stingray. These interesting animals are related to sharks, but you don’t necessarily need to run in panic at the sight of one. The stingray is a relatively docile creature, attacking only as a last resort if it feels threatened, which further emphasizes the need to give them — and all marine creatures — adequate space to move and check you out. If humans just respect the stingray’s space, everyone can safely enjoy the natural beauty of all stingray varieties in Florida.
Stingray varieties found in Florida range from small and spotted to large and dark with an assortment of other types in between. By knowing a few of the most common Atlantic stingray species, a person can ensure that the beaches of Florida are safe for both the humans visiting the sea and the stingrays that live in the ocean. Here are just five stingray varieties commonly found in Florida waters.
The Atlantic stingray grows to be about two feet in diameter. This brownish stingray has a very round appearance with its disc being more circular than ovular. The Atlantic stingray has an unusually long tail and can be found the shallow waters of the Atlantic coastline.
This moderately sized stingray was named for its short, broad snout, from where it gets the name “bluntnose.” The average bluntnose stingray is two and a half feet wide with a brown topside and a white underside. These stingrays also have well-developed fin folds on both the dorsal and ventral sides. Most of the time, bluntnose stingrays are found on grass and mud flats, but they have also been known to inhabit coastal waters.
The roughtail stingray is much more aggressive-looking than its relatives due to the rows of thorns on its tail. The roughtail has a longer, more angular nose than other stingray varieties. Roughtails usually prefer muddy, shallow waters, although they have been known to venture out to depths of six hundred feet or more.
This dark-colored stingray is one of the most angular species with pointed corners on each wing and an angular snout. The southern stingray is very large, often reaching a wingspan of four or five feet.
True to its name, this stingray is yellowish in color and sometimes has dark spots. Yellow stingrays are usually less than two feet in diameter and prefer shallow coastal waters. For this reason, many of the stingrays found near Florida’s beaches are yellow stingrays.
Top image via Fevi in Pictures