Rays | Batoidea
Batoidea, or rays, are the largest group of fish whose bodies are made out of cartilage instead of bones—similar to their relatives the shark. Rays are easily identifiable by their flat bodies with elongated fins attached to their heads, and gills placed on their underbellies. There are three groups of rays, the Manta ray, Stingray, and the Spotted Eagleray. All rays have a tail with a poisonous barb on the end that is used for self-protection and can cause serious harm or even death in its target. Some rays are shy while others are sociable, they live in sandy areas, open water, or coral reefs, and can be found in every ocean.
Most ray species consume a carnivorous diet. The diet of rays affects their physical attributes such as their shape and colors. They tend to eat animals that live on or beneath the sand such as worms, clams, oysters, snails, and shrimp. Rays may also eat small fish and squids.
Rays may reach a wingspan ranging from 12 inches (31 cm) in a yellow stingray and up to 23 feet (7 m) in manta rays. Manta rays can reach a weight of up to 2 tons. Females typically are larger than males in order to accommodate their offspring during pregnancy.
Rays jump out of the water to eat or avoid getting eaten by a predator. If they are being chased by a predator, they may jump out of the water to confuse their chaser. At times they may be startled by a motorboat which causes them to jump as a response.