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(stingrays), a family of chondrostean fishes of the order Batoidea or, according to some classifications, the order Selachii. The body is severely flattened from top to bottom and forms a broad, usually rhomboid disk, measuring more than 2.5m across. The pectoral fins merge in front. The slender tail is armed with one or several large bony spines with dentate margins. It can inflict serious wounds, injecting a potent toxin after striking.
There are four genera, embracing about 35 species. The fishes are found mainly in the shallows of tropical and subtropical seas; in the tropics some species enter fresh waters. The stingray Dasyatis pastinaca occurs in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov; it is widely distributed off the coasts of North Africa, West Africa, and Europe. Dasyatis akajei is common in the Soviet Primor’e; Urolophoides giganteus is occasionally caught in the region.
The fishes usually lie on the bottom, partially burying themselves in the mud. They feed on other fishes and benthic invertebrates. Reproduction is viviparous. The fishes are only of minor commercial significance; a few species are fished in Korea, China, and Japan.
REFERENCESNikol’skii, G. V. Chastnaia ikhtiologiia, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1971.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 1. Moscow, 1971.