Types of Stingray Fish

By Skip Davis; Updated April 25, 2017
Spotted eagle rays live in the Caribbean Sea and Indian Ocean.

Stingrays are cartilaginous fish (having cartilage instead of bones) that live in temperate marine and freshwater habitats throughout the world. Due to their cartilaginous body structure, these fish are closely related to sharks. Although they do not have sharp teeth like sharks, stingrays have venomous barbs on their tails. Although stingray attacks are rare, humans may avoid an altercation by shuffling their feet on the ocean floor, which alerts stingrays of a human's presence.

Eagle Rays

Eagle rays belong to the Myliobatidae family of stingray fish. These stingrays swim in open water as opposed to others, which swim over the ocean floor. Eagle rays are also known for jumping out of the water. These rays usually live in warm, tropical waters such as the Indian Ocean coastline and Caribbean Sea. Spotted eagle rays are one of the most widely distributed eagle rays. Other Myliobatidae stingrays are the banded, ornated, mottled and bat eagle rays.

Sixgill Stingray

The sixgill stingray is the only species in the Hexatrygonidae family of stingrays. As its name suggests, the sixgill stingray has six pairs of gill openings. Other physical characteristics are a triangular snout and gill arches.

Round Rays

Round rays are in the Urotrygonidae stingray family. These stingrays have a round pectoral disk, a slender tail and no dorsal fins. Most round rays live in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and the coastlines of North and South America. The round stingray is one of the most abundant stingrays within its range. The Urotrygonidae stingray family includes the Chilean round, Haller's round and yellow stingray.

Deepwater Stingray

The only member of the Plesiobatidae family of stingrays is the deepwater stingray. Also known as the giant stingaree, this stingray lives at depths of over 2,200 feet below the water's surface. The deepwater stingray's pectoral disc has an oval shape and the latter half of the tail features a leaf-shaped caudal fin, or a tail fin.

Butterfly Rays

The Gymnuridae family of stingrays features all butterfly ray species. Butterfly rays have flattened bodies and shorter tails than other stingray families. Some butterfly ray species, such as the spiny butterfly, has a width of 13 feet. Smooth, Australian, California, backwater and zonetail butterfly rays are other Gymnuridae species.

Whiptail Stingrays

Whiptail stingrays get their names from their whip-shaped tails; these rays have venomous barbs on the tips of their tails. Whiptail rays belong in the stingray family Dasyatidae. These stingrays also live in freshwater habitats, but most whiptails dwell in saltwater environments. Some whiptail stingray species are the roughtail stingray, blue stingray, sharpnose stingray, pelagic ray, porcupine ray and painted maskray.

About the Author

Skip Davis has been writing professionally since 2005. His work has appeared in "Southern Literary Magazine," on various websites and in graphic panels at the Jackson Zoological Park in Jackson, Miss. Currently living in Southern California, Davis received his Bachelor of Arts in theater at Belhaven College.