The Amazing Flight of Little Ray displayed at 50% of viewport width
November 2018 by V. R. Duin


Little Ray heard, “What's that, Mommy?”
“It's a pancake shark, my little Tommy.”
“If it's a shark, why can't it get away?”
“Maybe it can't figure out the way.”
(The Amazing Flight of Little Ray)

Rays in the Shark Family

Meet rays in the shark family in Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up. The group of stingrays named pancake shark, flat shark and pancake stingray are part of the shark family.

Flat Shark Club? The ITIS partnership of North American organizations offers: Taxonomic Hierarchy and Nomenclature for sharks, stingrays and rays in the “Chondrichthyes” class and “Elasmobranchii” subclass.

Stinging Sidekicks? The order of Myliobatiformes has nine families: whip-tail stingrays, butterfly rays, six-gill stingrays, manta and devil rays, eagle rays, cow-nose rays, deep-water stingrays, river rays and round stingrays.

Mirror Image? Angel sharks resemble stingrays. No stingray looks like a shark. Children might be surprised by the huge size of giant mantas, deep-water stingrays and whale sharks. Adult sharks also can be tiny.

In Full Bloom? The family is diverse. Over 10,000 pictures are on The Elasmodiver Shark and Ray Field Guide. It informs interested parties about evolution, biology, encounters and conservation.

Pancake Stingray

Sweet and Low? Stingrays are flat. When viewed from the underside, Little Ray correctly wears a “smile”. This should get friends smiling. Smiles grace those who are helpful, successful, loving and learning.

Organic Forms? Some stingrays are both round and flat, like pancakes. Round stingrays join eight other ray families among “Direct Children” of the Myliobatiformes. See “Urolophidae” in this section of the ITIS report.

Fine Form? The pancake form offers special abilities. Fascinating facts about pancake stingrays are captivating for children. Little Ray works on his weaknesses. Everyone should applaud his passionate efforts.

Focus Group Culture? According to, some species of flat sharks are so endangered, it is hard to find photographs of them. Shark Advocates International is dedicated to their preservation.

Group of Stingrays

Acting Tame? Visitors at water parks swim with captive rays and hand feed them. Curious fish brush against guests without showing a wild side. That docile stingrays are shark relatives is astonishing.

Going Places? Stingray parks are popular. Lessons from the ocean benefit life on land. Rays are among the few fish with eyes on the tops of their heads. These fish look up at people, imploring respect.

Golden Hour? Stingrays are nocturnal hunters, but these opportunistic feeders eat whenever food is available. In interactive lagoons they remain alert to and receptive of visitors bearing food for daytime feedings.

Small Wonder? For public safety, stinging spines are removed or trimmed. Trimming is not painful. The razor-sharp barbs grow back. Calming methods in Mama Ray are helpful to handlers and indicative of the shark connection.

Seeing Red? Some stingrays refuse handling. Cleaners of inside aquarium walls must take extra care with specimens kept together for breeding or display. Small pancake sharks make memorable stings with Stingray Venom.

Hot Seat? Handlers know the suffering of a quick touch. Few victims want to repeat the experience. Contact with tough, sharp sharkskin denticles also causes injury. Electric rays have smooth, flabby skin without denticles.

Solid State? Rough, slimy, bead-like stingray skin has a protective mucous coating to ward off parasites and reduce swimming friction. If it rubs off, the stinky slime can be hard to clean from shoe, clothing and ship fabrics.

Tank Condition Matters? The keen senses of sharks and rays make them extremely sensitive to poor water quality. They also develop posture problems from the constant bending required to navigate small areas.

Crowd Disturbance? Sensitive shark family members rely upon water vibrations, sounds and scents for survival. Disorienting noise, smells and pounding vibrations of visiting throngs confuse and depress these fish.

Long Story? Ray touch tanks are torture chambers. These fish are offered no escape from the siege of germ-ridden tourists. Denied sandy bottoms for escape and hiding, they are manhandled and injured for commercial exploit.

Art of the Huddle? Bans are removing whales and porpoises from tanks, and laws exist against holding and breeding these marine mammals. Efforts everywhere should provide sanctuaries and rehabilitation for release of fish.

Part of the Shark Family

Passionate? Hooked or netted rays put up fights. Larger ones can break away with hook and line. Smaller ones deserve due respect. It is possible to remove the hook, without getting stung. Gently hold the head and keep the tail away.

Intentional Harm? Fishermen targeting flashes of silver may pull up “big wings”. Disappointment or fright should not result in cruel, cold-blooded murder. These cold-blooded fish are important to the environment.

Turn up the Heat? Mako and Great White Sharks can raise body part temperatures to improve performance in cold water. According to Pizard's GURPS Miscellanea, Alopiid Sharks, or thresher sharks, are warm-blooded.

Natural Selection? Bull Sharks, River Sharks and some ray species live in freshwater. has interesting facts about them. Ingesting saltwater can be deadly for land animals.

Beach Day? Aquariums use processed feed. Stingrays prefer small, fresh, live catches: fish, snails, shrimps, crabs, worms, clams, etc. Bottom feeders stir up meals with their snouts and fins. They hunt. They ambush.

Buyer's Remorse? Visit rather than own these big eaters. Purchased from tropical fish stores, they quickly outgrow home aquariums. Rays and sharks adapt poorly to captivity. Migration patterns and habits are disturbed.