I.D. Key of Coastal Western North Atlantic Stingrays

This quick key is a guide to the most common stingrays you'll find in Florida waters.

The full list of rays and skates is here...

1a) Disc round in shape, colored yellowish with spots Urobatis jamaicensis - yellow stingray
1b) Disc roughly diamond shaped, no such color (Dasyatis) Go to question 2

2a) Tips of wings more or less rounded, disc obviously wider (wingtip to wingtip) than long (snout to posterior disc margin) Go to question 3
2b) Tips of wings more or less pointed, disc about as wide as wide as long Go to question 4

3a) Distance from tip of snout to eyes greater than distance between eyes, anterior margins of disc somewhat concave anterior to level of eyes, generally brackish and fresh water Dasyatis sabina - atlantic stingray
3b) Distance from tip of snout to eyes less than distance between eyes, anterior margins of disc straight anterior to level of eyes, generally marine waters Dasyatis say - bluntnose stingray

4a) Tail with large thorns (bucklers), not usually found coastally Dasyatis centroura - roughtail stingray
4b) Tail with small spines only, found coastally and in somewhat deeper water Dasyatis americana - southern stingray

Compiled by George Burgess
Florida Program for Shark Research
Florida Museum of Natural History