What Are the Adaptations of a Stingray?


Stingrays live in sandy marine environments. These gentle creatures are known for their odd looks: they have flattened dorsal fins, disc-shaped bodies and eyes on top of their heads. These are adaptations, or changes in the species over time that have allowed them to survive in their environment. Some of the stingray's adaptations allow it to be a better predator, while others allow it to conserve energy and hide from predators.


  • Stingrays have eyes on their dorsal or top surface, which allows them to see prey moving above them while they are hiding in the sand. They also have good low-light vision. However, since stingrays can only see the areas above and around their bodies, they have developed good senses of touch and smell to find food. Their mouths are located on their undersides, allowing them to feed on creatures that live on the ocean floor.

Prey Sensing

  • Stingrays have other specialized senses to help them find food. They have a closed lateral line system on their dorsal surface that can detect the streams of water given off by oysters and other bivalves. They also have electroreception abilities. Every animal has an electrical energy field around it due to electrical activity or charges in its body. Stingrays can detect this electricity with their electrosense, making it a valuable adaptation for finding prey hidden in the sand.


  • Stingrays lack the swim bladder and oil-filled liver that make fish buoyant. As a result, they start to sink when they aren't swimming. However, the stingray's flattened body and pectoral fins help them glide through the water. Due to their lack of buoyancy, stingrays can sink to the ocean floor and hide from predators in the sand for long periods. These adaptations for gliding and hiding beneath the sand allow the stingray to conserve energy, which in turn allows them to eat less.


  • Stingrays breathe underwater, but they don't take water in through their mouths and pump it through their gills like fish do. Instead, they have spiracles -- openings for gas exchange -- behind their eyes, and their gills are on their flat underside. Water goes in through the spiracles and out through the gills, freeing the stingray's mouth to eat. This arrangement also allows the stingray to breathe while covered in sand.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • Insect Adaptation

    Of all the creatures in the animal kingdom, few have adaptations as remarkable as insects. Living in virtually every corner of the...

  • Protective Adaptation of Animals

    Protective adaptations are the ways animals have evolved to survive danger. These include adaptations that not only change their bodies, but change...

  • How to Build Your Own Stingray

    Building a stingray is a great way to incorporate sea life into educational curriculum. This fun and interactive craft can help children...

  • Jellyfish Adaptations

    Jellyfish are clear, dome-shaped aquatic creatures. Throughout the watery areas of the world lie hundreds of different jellyfish species. Although very simple...

  • What Are the Adaptations of Algae?

    Aquatic algae is one of the simplest plant organisms on our planet. If life evolved from bacteria to plants, from sea creatures...

  • What Adaptations Does a Bobcat Have?

    The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a master of adapting to a wide variety of lush as well as marginal habitats. Found in...

  • The Differences Between Stingrays & Skates

    As a type of flattened fish, stingrays and skates share many common characteristics. These cartilaginous fish have no bones and breathe from...

  • Spider Adaptations

    The varieties of spiders living across the globe inhabit many different environments and have adapted to a number of pressures. Many of...

  • Princess Parrot Fish Identification

    Princess Parrot Fish identification is difficult but made much easier with this video to help you identify them on the reef.

  • Misconceptions About Saltwater Stingrays

    Uncover the truth about stingrays. Learn some misconceptions about saltwater fish, primarily the Stingray, in this free instructional video clip.

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Build and Grow a Salad Garden On Your Balcony

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!