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Stingray Injury

Stingray Injury Overview

Stingrays do not actually attack. Injuries from these sharklike creatures are usually defensive actions. Once disturbed, their venomous stinger (spine) near the base of their tails lashes out and can cause punctures or lacerations (cuts). Their mouth parts do not cause injury, but a hickey can occur if they try to suck you.

Stingrays are aquatic, cartilaginous vertebrates who are members of the shark family. They have flat bodies and winglike fins. Stingrays are nonassertive and can be found lying in the sand in shallow water at the beach or swimming free in open waters. Most are saltwater creatures, but a few live in fresh water.

  • In 1608, Captain John Smith, the explorer who founded the Jamestown settlement, was injured by a stingray in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Annually, about 1,500 stingray-induced injuries occur in the United States.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/26/2014
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Stingray Envenomation »

Stingrays (ie, elasmobranchs) are bottom-dwelling cartilaginous fish that have a flattened body, one or more stout spines on the tail, gill slits on the lower surface of the head, teeth modified into 2 large crushing plates, and no dorsal fin.

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