The mouth of the stingray is located on the ventral side of the vertebrate. The upper jaw of the stingray has high mobility and protrudes outward. The teeth are modified placoid scales that are regularly shed and replaced. Male stingrays display sexual dimorphism by developing cusp, or pointed ends, to some of their teeth. During mating season, some stingray species fully change their tooth morphology which then returns to baseline during non-mating seasons.
Spiracles are small openings that allow some fish and amphibians to breathe. Stingray spiracles are openings just behind its eyes. The respiratory system of stingrays is complicated - having two separate ways to take in water to utilize oxygen. Most of the time stingrays take in water using their mouth and then send the water through the gills for gas exchange. This is efficient, but the mouth cannot be used when hunting because the stingrays bury themselves in the ocean sediment and wait for prey to swim by. So the stingray switches to using its spiracles. With the spiracles, they can draw sediment-free water directly into their gills for gas exchange. These alternate ventilation organs are less efficient than the mouth, since spiracles are unable to pull the same volume of water. However, it is enough when the stingray is quietly waiting to ambush its prey.
The flattened bodies of stingrays allow them to effectively conceal themselves in their environments. Stingrays do this by agitating the sand and hiding beneath it. Because their eyes are on top of their bodies and their mouths on the undersides, stingrays cannot see their prey after capture; instead, they use smell and electroreceptors. Stingrays settle on the bottom while feeding, often leaving only their eyes and tails visible. Coral reefs are favorite feeding grounds and are usually shared with sharks during high tide.
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