"Stingrays, which generally feed on small fish and crustaceans, use
their barbed tail for defense only, arcing it up over their back to
strike in a manner similar to a scorpion."
Notice the barbs on the pictures on this site!
?The venom apparatus or "sting" of a stingray is a spine or modified
dermal denticle (the scales covering sharks and stingrays) with two
ventral grooves filled with venom-producing tissue. The venom
apparatus is surrounded by a cell-rich covering or sheath that also
may produce lesser amounts of venom. The venom itself is a largely
protein-based toxin that causes great pain in mammals and may also
alter heart rate and respiration. ?
?"The general treatment is, first of all, make sure the wound is
clean," he said. "They should make sure the barb is no longer in
there. The little barbs allow it to get wedged in, but when it pulls
out, it pulls out a little bit of flesh and that helps rupture those
In rare case, if the puncture is deep, the spine will actually pull
out of the ray and get embedded in the individual's skin. Then a
medical dcotor should remove it.
"In most cases it's just maybe a quarter of an inch or smaller that
penetrates the skin - just a quick poke is all it takes. It's
extremely painful. It's not uncommon to see the toughest surfer dude
weeping," Lowe observed.
"As long as it's clean and there are no bits of spine left in there,
the best treatment is hot water - as hot as they can stand it. That
helps denature the toxin. The general treatment should last an hour or
What you see is what you get" is an expression that doesn?t always
apply. This is true of the stingray that seemingly has no visible barb
stinger. But don?t be deceived! According to Dr. Bob Shipp, Ph.D.
professor of the University of Alabama and authority on fishes of the
Gulf of Mexico, the barb may be concealed within a sheathlike tail
wrapping, depending on its size and species. The barb, or spine,
according to Dr. Shipp, can grow back if broken off, and is actually a
modified scale, armored with recurved serrations that are as sharp as
razors. The stingray has the ability to whip its tail up over its back
and strike a victim. During the strike the tail sheath covering
instantly moves back to expose the barb, located about one third the
way down its tail (bluntnose and Atlantic species). In some instances
it can whip its tail around a victim to exert a more powerful blow.?
?According to Dr. Shipp, when a stingray strikes, it either removes
its barb entirely, or breaks it off inside of the victim. When this
occurs, doctors must probe the wound to make sure all particles have
been removed, so the injury will not result in gangrene. In cases
where the barb deeply penetrated, the wound must be enlarged to make
sure it is properly cleaned.
Aside from the pain and serious laceration caused by the razor-sharp
barb, which can sever arteries and possibly an Achilles tendon, a
poison is released that can produce a drastic decrease in blood
pressure, increased pulse, dizziness and possible shock.?
More information can be found here:
I hope this has helped you out! Since Steve Irwin's death, many of us
have been wondering the same thing as you!
stingray + method of attack
stingray + barb