The southern stingray (Dasyatis americana) can reach up to six feet across and is the largest stingray found on the southeastern and Gulf coasts.
The southern stingray is common in South Carolina estuaries (where rivers meet the sea). This bottom-dwelling fish is related to sharks, skates, and other rays, who, unlike bony fish, have skeletons made entirely of cartilage (relatively soft, flexible tissue). Like all stingrays, the southern stingray has a venomous, stinging spine attached to the base of its tail. The southern stingray also has a flattened body, which it often covers with sediment to blend in with its surroundings. This provides protection from predators and enables it to catch prey more easily. The southern stingray feeds on worms, shrimp, crabs, small fish, and bivalves, such as oysters and clams.