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Was it a dangerous sting ray washed up on a Hampshire beach?
6:10am Sunday 25th August 2013 in News
WITH their mysterious triangular frame and long snaking tail, they are a rare sight off the Hampshire coastline.
But is this fish the harmless ray often found in British waters, or is it the potentially venomous and barbtailed stingray?
Marine experts in the south are split over the exact species found marooned on an area of beach off Ensign Way.
One expert is even warning beachgoers the more sinister stingray is capable of delivering a painful blow that could be life-threatening to children and elderly people.
The discovery was made by a group of friends on a walk with their toddlers on a Hamble beach.
Abi Peckham, 23, from Hamble, said: “We are just walking along when I saw one under some seaweed.
“My friend said that it was a flat fish but when I uncovered it I could see the barb.
“It almost looked like a knife striking out and it was really strange.”
A second fish was then found flapping around on the tide but was soon washed out to sea.
Referring to the first fish, Abi said: “We called the coastguard and they said stay with it until they came, but it then got washed away.
“I was a bit shocked because I have never seen anything looking like it before except in an aquarium.”
Sea Life marine biologist Chris Brown, from the Weymouth centre, says it is possible the creatures were stingrays but that they seldom stray into waters shallow enough for them to be a hazard to bathers.
He said: “Their stings would not be life-threatening except perhaps for a very small child or a frail elderly person, but they are extremely painful.”
But Simon Boxall, University of Southampton’s Ocean and Earth Science lecturer, says it could be a ray fish which does not have a sting in its tail.
He added: “I don’t know the exact species but rays are fairly common in Southampton Water.
“They are not normally seen as they stay well clear of people and boats.”
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