Unlike skates, Stingrays are dangerous to man. These rays are characterized by long thin tails that are armed by venomous spikes near the body. The spike can be observed here if you zoom in at the base of the tail. This ray was caught at Islanders Beach.
Rays are bottom dwellers, often lying submerged under the sand of shallow waters. It is for this reason that beach goers are advised to shuffle their feet while moving through the water. Better to spook off a ray than step on it a risk the sting.
Deceased Clearnose Skate washed up on Mitchelville Beach. This common skate is characterized by the small spines down the midline of the body.
Burrfish, related to the Pufferfish, but with very obvious rigid spines covering their body. Both share the strange ability to inflate their bellies when threatened, with the sudden change in size and configuration discouraging would be predators.
This was a new critter for me.
Gonatista grisea, common name grizzled mantis or lichen mimic, is a species of praying mantis native to the southern United States, primarily Florida.
I was a bit worried about finding things when today’s scheduled beach program happened at high tide, but we still managed to find some neat critters. One of the young ones scored a major find with a Spiny Jewel Box (Arcinella cornuta), a shell not often found on our beaches here. Way to go kiddo!! 👏
Echinoderms are a group of marine invertebrates that includes sand dollars, sea stars, and sea cucumbers. Although many are not spiny like the sea urchin, the name echinoderms comes from the Greek for “spiny skin,” Echinoderms share a five-part radial symmetry, like a pie cut into five pieces. Some species of sea star have the ability to regenerate lost arms or even regenerate a whole new sea star from a single arm attached to a portion of the central disc. Regeneration is possible because each of the arms contains parts of the vital organs including the digestive tract and reproductive organs.
The first photo demonstrates regeneration of limbs, while the second defies the five-part symmetry, because in nature, there is always variation.