stingray

Over the course of eighteen weeks, our Ocean Explorers club dives into the world of marine biology and explores different animals and habitats all around our oceans. Each week we change topic – one week we might be talking about life on the coral reef and the next might be a deep dive into sharks but all sessions are filled with inspiring images, videos, and facts. Every class is all-encompassing, so you can dip in and out for a week at a time or stay with us for the full cycle and become a fully-fledged Ocean Explorer! Let’s dive in and check out our topics. This time – rays.

Rays

Believe it or not, rays are fish! Whilst they might not look like your average fish, they have gills, which enable them to breathe underwater and they spend their whole lives living under the sea. Rays are in the same family as sharks and often get referred to as “flat sharks”. Let’s have a look at some of the different kinds of rays!

Stingrays

Stingrays are probably the most well-known of the rays. Their name comes from the “stinger” they have halfway down their tail. The stinger is barbed with sharp spikes and is used as a defence against any predators. Stingrays are not typically aggressive and will only utilise their stinger in a life-or-death scenario.

Manta Rays

The largest of all the rays, manta rays can grow up to 7m (21ft) across. Unlike stingrays, mantas do not have a stinger. Instead, they rely on their large size to protect them from predators. Manta rays are filter feeders and can often be seen swimming around with their mouths wide open feeding on microscopic zooplankton.

Eagle Rays

Eagle rays are usually found swimming high up in the water column, which is unlike stingrays, who tend to sit on the seabed. Their diamond shape and pointed snout can also help to differentiate them from their rounded cousins, the stingrays. Eagle rays often have long tails and swim with their pectoral fins (the fins on the sides of their body), beating them at the same time, like a bird flying – hence their name!

Electric Rays

Sometimes called torpedo rays, electric rays are some of the smallest of the ray family. They often swim close to the bottom and are well camouflaged with their mottled brown colouring. If their camouflage and low profile does not work to evade predators, they have another trick up their sleeve…electric rays are named for their ability to produce an electric shock!

‘Rays’ is just one of the 18 topics we have in our Ocean Explorers course cycle. Here you’ll be introduced to some of the rays that swim the world’s oceans and find out where they get their names and how they have adapted to life under the waves.


Ready to start your ocean exploring journey? To sign up and become an Ocean Explorer today click here. While you wait for your first class, why not follow us on Facebook, where we regularly share fun facts, craft ideas and cute videos. You might also like to sign up to our monthly WiseKids newsletter for a monthly dose of marvellous marine-themed content straight to your inbox!

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