Sting Rays on the North Coast

Jan 21, 2014

A sting ray's barb grows near the base of its tail. It is flat, pointed and serrated, able to cause a painful wound, but does not carry a poison.
Credit Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Sting rays can be found in the shallow waters of sandy beaches almost anywhere, including the northern California coast. But they only pose a threat to humans when we accidentally step on them—and there are ways to avoid that.

A bat ray, similar to those common to the coastal waters of the North Coast.

  Although there are hundreds of kinds of rays populating the world’s oceans, biologist Bob Rubin explains that they all share a common ancestor—a 200 million year old shark.

Getting stung by a ray is excruciating, but rarely fatal. Even in the most publicized recent cases, says Rubin, the deaths attributed to rays were largely accidental.

Biologist Bob Rubin displays a young ray found along the Sonoma Coast.
Credit Bruce Robinson, KRCB

   You can find the full NPR story on sting rays from Jan. 21 here.

Rubin was also interviewed  about his other research specialty, Elephant Seals,  in this previous  North Bay Report.