About rays, sharks and fish
When you think of animals in the sea, in addition to the large marine mammals such as our dolphins and seals, you probably immediately think of fish. Fish come in all shapes and sizes. There are thousands of different types!
Sharks and rays are also fish. And they also come in many varieties. From the small dogfish that you get to know with us in the Roggenrif, to the whale shark that can grow up to fifteen meters in length. That’s even longer than a bus!
There is, however, a difference between ‘normal’ fish and rays and sharks. We call the ‘regular’ fish bony fish, because they have a skeleton of bone, or bones – you may know the bones from the fish on your plate. Bony fish that you can spot in the Dolfinarium include sea bass, gilt-head bream, thick-lipped mullet, three-spined stickleback, spotted wrasse, rainbow trout, plaice and turbot. Rays and sharks do not have bones, but a skeleton of cartilage. Therefore, those species fall under the cartilaginous fishes.
The rays you encounter in the Dolfinarium actually look more like a swimming pancake than a fish. Yet they are! There are almost five hundred different species of rays. The mouth and gills of rays are on the underside, but the eyes are on top of the head. Many rays also have venom spines on their tails to defend against attackers. But don’t worry: the rays that you can pet with us are very friendly and also not poisonous. Just try!