Skip to main content

Southern Stingray

Hypanus americanus

Did you know?

  • Southern stingrays are part of the Dasyatidae family, which they share with other whiptail stingrays.
  • Stingrays are known for their stingers, but they are actually very docile creatures.
  • Southern stingrays live in the tropical and subtropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, down the coast to southeastern Brazil.
  • They visit "cleaning stations" where smaller fish, such as the bluehead wrasse or Spanish hogfish, will pick and eat parasites and mucus off of their bodies.
  • Females can grow to be six feet wide.


Southern stingrays are large predators. While adult males grow to be a few feet wide, females can be up to six feet wide - imagine a stingray as big as an adult human! They use spiracles to pull water in and trap prey as they push water out, almost like a filtration system.


When not feeding, southern stingrays bury themselves in the sand with only their eyes and spiracles visible. They can be found individually, in pairs, or in loose groups - though usually, they are solitary. If threatened, they can raise their tails like a scorpion and stab predators with their venomous barb. However, they are more likely to swim away from predators.

Threat Level

  • Unknown
  • Common
  • Near Threatened
  • Threatened
  • Endangered
  • Critically Endangered
  • Extinct in the Wild


The data on the southern stingray population is deficient. However, relative species, such as the stingray family Hypanus, is Near Threatened and showing decline.


Western Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, and down the coast to southeastern Brazil


Open water

we care about southern stingrays

We support southern stingrays in the seasonal habitat Stingrays at Caribbean Cove at the Zoo. Learn more about how we are helping wildlife around the world.

Dedicated to Conservation

Find this animal in Lakeside Crossing


Lakeside Crossing

Located in the center of the Zoo, Lakeside Crossing has a variety of food services, shopping destinations and a grassy plaza to rest and relax.

Explore Lakeside Crossing