The Stingray is a fish from the family Dasyatidae, which
contains fish that have cartilage rather than bones, such as
sharks. Stingrays are commonly seen in tropical coastal
marine waters around the world, several species have even
been known to enter fresh water estuaries and bays.
Other rays that are referred to as Stingrays are the River
Stingray, Round Stingrays, the Six Gill Stingray and the
Deepwater Stingray. Stingrays from the family Dasyatidae are
also called Whiptail Stingrays.
Some species of Stingray are currently listed as threatened
because conservation for the species is problematic. For
other species it isn't possible at this time to get an
accurate count on them so the data is too insufficient to
actually classify them as endangered.
Humans can be injured by a Stingray's stinger, and the most
common place this happens is on the foot. Surfers have
learned to help prevent a sting by, instead of stepping, to
slide their feet through the sand, as the Stingray can
detect this movement and will swim away. If you stomp hard
through murky water this has the same effect, and any
Stingrays will probably swim away.
Humans that harass Stingrays can be stung on other body
parts. This can sometimes lead to death, depending upon
where the human is stung and how big the Stingray that stung
This rarely occurs, but the stinger can cause severe damage
because when the tail is pulled out the stinger is left
behind. This can cause local trauma, pain, swelling and
bacterial infection if not properly dealt with. Also
Stingrays inject poison that causes pain and swelling.
Injuries that can occur from a Stingray sting include
poisoning, punctures, severed arteries and death. In 2006
the popular naturalist and television personality Steve
Irwin was killed when he was filming for television and
swimming in shallow water near Australia's Great Barrier
Reef and a frightened Stingray's barb pierced his chest and
If you are stung by a Stingray you should seek medical
attention immediately to have the stinger removed and have
the wound properly disinfected and dealt with. This is
because the internal injury from the Stingray's tail
entering the body can cause more damage than just the poison
and the pain.
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