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Photo of the Week: Birds of the Deep Sea

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Southern Stingray

Posted May 30, 2013. Photo by Amy Landers/ABQ BioPark.

Like their shark cousins, stingrays have a special sixth sense. Organs near their mouths, called the ampullae of Lorenzini, detect electrical signals, helping them hunt and orient themselves in the big blue.

Stingrays are notorious for the sharp barb at the base of their whip-like tails. Despite their venomous barbs, rays tend to be docile fish that only strike in self-defense. However, it is wise to watch where you step when swimming in the ocean, because stingrays are often camouflaged in the sandy bottom.

The ABQ BioPark Aquarium houses southern stingrays (Dasyatis americana), Atlantic stingrays (Dasyatis sabina) and cownose rays (Rhinoptera bonasus), all common to the Gulf of Mexico. Several stingray species are considered threatened or vulnerable due to oil spills, pollution and overfishing. Join us for World Oceans Day on June 6 to learn more about our personal connection to the sea and how our actions matter.

Have you ever been swimming with a ray? Join the conversation on Facebook.

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