Interactions with
 Other Species-
  Ray Relations

   Southern Stingrays have a mutualistic, commensal, parasitic, and predatory relationship with other organisms in their habitat. These Spanish Hogfish Photo by Emilystingrays have a mutualistic relationship with Bluehead Wrasses and Spanish Hogfish that make cleaning stations. Southern Stingrays go to these cleaning stations because these fish eat parasites and mucus off of the stingray's bodies. The stingrays get rid of their parasites and get a massage while the cleaner fish get a meal.

   Southern Stingrays have a commensal relationship with fishSouthern Stingray with Bar Jack by Arthur Koch that swim above them while they search for food in the sand. The stingrays uncover prey in the sand, and these fish eat the prey that the stingrays do not eat.

   Southern Stingrays have a parasitic relationship with some ectoparasites. Even though ectoparasites are common in Southern Stingrays, they are usually taken off by the cleaner fish. Since they visit cleaning stations so often, these parasites rarely cause any serious problems.

   Southern Stingrays are prey for larger sharks. Hammerhead Hammerhead Shark Photo by David BiesackSharks prefer eating stingrays and seem to have built an immunity to their venomous stingers. Stingrays are unable to hide from Hammerhead Sharks because they have electrosenses that allow them to find stingrays hiding under the sand.

   Southern Stingrays are also greatly affected by humans. In many cultures their stingers have been used as weapons and gems. The stingray's tough skin can be used to make leather. Fishermen are also unintentionally killing stingrays while trying to catch other fish and shrimp. Their trawl nets catch stingrays while destroying the habitats for the animals stingrays eat by flattening the ocean floor.

   On the positive side of things, Southern Stingrays are extremely important to ecotourism. People go diving everyday with these friendly creatures in captivity and even in the ocean at places like Stingray City in the Cayman Islands. At Stingray City, tourists are dropped off onto a shallow sandbar where curious stingrays comeStingray City Photo by Jonathan Discount from all over. They come in search of the food the tourists hold in their hands. These stingrays have been coming to this area for years because in the past fishermen cleaned their fish here. The stingrays would come to eat their scraps. Ever since then, they have been coming back to this spot every day to get food from the snorkelers. This tourism provides money and jobs for these tourist sites and local businesses. Click here to learn more about Stingray City.

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