Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Everybody Loves Ray

When I was a kid playing on the beach, Mom and Dad always told us to shuffle our feet through the sand when we couldn't see the bottom, so we wouldn't accidentally step on a stingray.

We were told about these stingrays (the stinger is barbed like a porcupine's, so the only way out is through), but we very seldom saw one.

This year, though, down at the same beach, we have seen several. It's curious to see how wildlife ebb and flow; last year we saw more big fish in schools near the shore, and this year we've seen hardly any. But we've spotted at least three--or I should say my bright-eyed namesake has spotted three, and we have oohed and aahed in appreciation. The guy above was swimming around at high tide, just before sunset.

So unlike the grunion, it appears the stingray is not a mythical beast.

Why do you suppose it evolved such a nasty stinger? Seems like a lot of evolutionary effort just to use every now and then after humans finally appeared on the scene, and stuck around long enough to invent surfing and the like. Hmmm.

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