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Freshwater Stingrays Chew Their Food Like Humans and Other Mammals

Science By
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The next time you drop those food pellets into your fish tank, watch how your fish eat them. Most fish just suck them up, with no chewing involved. Freshwater stingrays, it turns out, are the exception to this rule.

stringray-eating

Chewing is how mammals (including humans) break food down into small enough pieces for swallowing and digestion. Per a new study published by Royal Society, the freshwater ray uses mastication too, specifically for tough prey like insects or grasses. The study notes that one major difference between their chewing technique and ours is that rays’ teeth are quite a bit simpler than ours, so all they really need to do is move their jaws asymmetrically to perform the chewing motion.

Researchers from the University of Toronto Scarborough and University of Washington, Friday Harbor, captured the rays in mid-chew using high-speed videography, which you can see in the video below. To read the Royal Society’s study, click here.

Researchers from the University of Toronto Scarborough and University of Washington, Friday Harbor, captured the rays in mid-chew using high-speed videographythe similarity between the ray’s chewing motion and that of a cow is uncanny.)