Sea cat (hvostokol) (Dasyatis pastinaca)

Among the most beautiful and unique sea creatures sea cat occupies a leading position. The fish belongs to the class of thermophilic cartilaginous fishes from the squad Vostokovedenie, family Hvostokol (rays, sting rays).

Some interesting characteristics of the species, behavior, life cycle and other subtleties will discuss in this article.

The appearance of compressively fish species became known as “sea cats” because of the characteristic appearance, which is emphasized by the stem, resembling a tail. Fish behavior is also unusual: as Pets, she likes to hunt at night in shallow areas. In a state of tranquility sea cat burrows in the sand and leaves sticking out of the stem on the surface (like doing domestic cats), which greatly attracts curious residents of the local fauna.

Морской кот (хвостокол) (Dasyatis pastinaca)

Sea cat has a diamond-shaped or rounded body, long, threadlike, jagged tail with a spike (sometimes in nature there are instances of two spikes, but this happens very rarely), and a naked body is without thorns and spines.

Unlike many other species of fish in the sea hvostokol missing fins, which affects the unique properties of swimming. The upper part of the disc is painted gray or olive-brown, the lower entirely white. The average body length is 1-2 meters. With proper feed and good forage species grow up to two and a half feet in length. Interesting feature: females are always larger than males.

To celebrate the wonderful creation can in warm regions of the Atlantic coast, near the shores of the European and African countries. The typical gregarious behavior presented by moving long distances. Sometimes, one pack is more than a few thousand individuals, who freely “floating” in the ocean abyss and looking for available food.

In Russia, the animal can be found around the black sea coast and in some parts of the Azov sea.

The fish belong to the thermophilic aquatic fauna that show traces of their activities only in the summer. With the onset of autumn cold, they are leaving beloved places and go to depth. In most cases, the sea cat is trying to swim near the bottom, where it often buries itself in the sand and not making any moves. In this state, he simply merges with the environment and looks a fixed object of an unnatural origin.

But after a short rest the fish makes exploding “UPS”, rising from the bottom of the ocean at very high speeds. After that fish the cat begins to “soar” or “fly”, waving their fins like wings. When searching for food, one of the most beautiful inhabitants of the sea strikes with a body of sand to vzmutit it and increase the chances of catching delicious prey. Diet sea cat consists of:

  • crustaceans;
  • shellfish;
  • other plankton.

Eat fish catscity-stingrays are ovoviviparous animals, but apart from the yolk in the egg, the embryos develop in the womb and get her body’s special liquid with incredible nutritional properties resembling milk. It is produced in special outgrowths that are found on the walls “of the uterus”. Bundles of these outgrowths penetrate the small holes of the embryos, resulting in very valuable minerals and vitamins enter the digestive tract of calves.

Морской кот (хвостокол) (Dasyatis pastinaca)

In warm, southern regions of our country the breeding period occurs in June or July. One female in one season can grow from 4 to 12 young. And though comely crumbs are born with sharp spines, the process of childbirth is without pain. And all because in the womb of matter Pleskodale embryos enveloped in a tube, resembling a cigar, which prevents aggressive influence of spines on the internal organs of the female.

After birth the baby quickly adapts to external conditions, turns and swims away.

Nutritional value of sea cat, is practically zero. However, in many countries of the world it is caught in large quantities and used for cooking delicacies in the elite five-star restaurants and other venues, exotic cuisine. In the liver of fish is more than 63 per cent of dietary fat enriched with a very valuable vitamin D.

If this species of Stingray attacks on humans, injuries can be very painful. The fact that the spikes contain some toxins that cause terrible pain.

The sea cat is represented by the manufacture of weapons of sharp spikes of the fish. For many years, local island natives used them as an effective tips for spears, who, after served as a tool for catching fish.

Caught stingrays also squeeze fish oil. But the animal may make a person more dangerous. In the aggressive condition, it can cause fatal injuries, followed by a long and painful death due to the efflux of blood.

In many cases, sea cat attacks people after they step on his body, buried in the sand. Toxic poison hvostokol can cause:

  • spasmodic pain;
  • muscle paralysis;
  • infectious diseases;
  • blood poisoning;
  • fatal – the death of the victim.

Sea cat is one of the most common types of stingrays marine fauna of the European coasts. Most of the fish found in the waters of the Atlantic ocean, near the Islands of Britain and Spain, and even in the Mediterranean sea. Himself underwater inhabitant is very sensitive to any changes in temperature. If the water temperature drops below 6 degrees Celsius, he may die. Low rates within +5-+7 degrees Celsius he manages to survive.
In North and South America were able to catch a rare American hvostokol.

Some fish can survive freely in freshwater ponds, for example, in the mouths of American rivers.
The body color is determined by the environment, sunlight and water color. If some stingrays are painted brown, others can be dark gray. The lower part of the body can be completely white or light cream.

The natives of the American continent used needle hvostokol to create very effective weapons, namely spears and daggers. Needles are fixed on the shafts. By the way, there is ancient Greek myth, Odysseus was killed by this arrow. Made of thick leather, they stretched their musical instruments, particularly drums.
Local residents of Western African countries and Ceylon once produced the medium-sized species of whip that was used to force action on prisoners or slaves. In turn, the Seychelles whip was used to intimidate wives.

Морской кот (хвостокол) (Dasyatis pastinaca)

When meeting with the animal that swam into the net, the fishermen immediately cut off his tail, and then released back into the water. The fact that barbed tail represents a huge danger to other living beings. For this reason, it is sometimes possible to catch species, which has no tail. The fishermen from southern Africa claim that from the liver of hvostokol you can get very valuable fat, which will be effective for the treatment of pneumonia and prevention of other dangerous diseases.
Off the coast of Mexico sea cats form large schools that are falling into the sea basin.

Poisonous properties
Do fish cat agcac mentioned above, SKAT is able to reveal a great danger to humans or their neighbors. Contact with an animal which has caused aggressive behavior rarely ends happily. Fast and furious monster immediately attacks her abuser, letting the poison out of the needle into the victim.

Poisonous needle hvostokol is a long knife-edged tail. If hvostokol someone angry, he struggled hitting the tail on the bottom and causes the needle to a fighting state. Such dangerous weapons in a matter of seconds to paralyze a swimmer, inflict lasting injury or lead to disastrous consequences in the form of a painful death.

Tail needle has a different length. In many cases, it reaches 25 to 35 cm, although some specimens the length is 42 cm.

This dangerous weapon is a bag with a poisonous substance which is very toxic. When injected into the wound with the cloth, the poison that fills the grooves of studs, degrades the activity of the cardiovascular system, causing a sharp decline in blood pressure and accelerated heartbeat. Also bite hvostokol may be accompanied by vomiting reaction, and heavy sweating.

According to the statistics, only in the United States each year from the bites of the sea cat is suffering more than 1500 people. And this is not associated with aggressive fish, but only with its habitat. Recently a huge flock hvostokol move to coastal regions, where they form the so-called “heavenly vault”. Digging into the bottom of the animal turns into a dangerous weapon, contact with which is highly undesirable.

Even small stingrays, a body length of no more than 50 inches with 20-inch tail that are found on the Atlantic coast capable of inflicting the victim’s hideous wounds. At large members of the species that grow to 3-4 metres in length, the tail, the thickness of a human foot, it is a huge 30-cm spike. With his help, the fish can inflict a terrible blow, capable of punching the bottom of the boat.

In any waters inhabited by fish cottam many tourists go to the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands and in other exotic regions in order to play with sea cats, take bright pictures and feel the incredible emotions from such actions.

Some aquarists breed of hvostokol in specially designed tanks with seawater. For home maintenance this amazing inhabitant of marine waters are not suitable, because it requires to build a very large pot with a water volume of 1 thousand litres. However, the slope shows high requirements to the conditions in which he lives. He needs a suitable temperature and proper hydrochemical composition of water.

In large aquariums and aquariums stingrays live freely in captivity, where they are fed small fish and plankton.

Despite a number of negative aspects, including aggressive behavior a defensive reaction and toxicity of the needle, the sea cat is one of the most amazing creatures of our planet. His handsome looks, impressive size and interesting behavior will not leave indifferent any tourist. Meeting with SKAT promises good memories and emotions for a long time. Perhaps that is why many travel thousands of miles to see this colorful inhabitant of the seas and oceans.

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