Stingray startled after encountering scuba diver
Southern Stingrays are found throughout the Caribbean and are a common sight for scuba divers. They have a reputation as fearsome and deadly creatures because they are equipped with stingers or barbs in their long tails. These sharp barbs are capable of delivering a severe wound and they are armed with a powerful toxin that can be deadly to most creatures, including humans. But despite this, they are actually gentle and very shy creatures who only use their barbs for defense when attacked.
Contrary to their reputation as being deadly killers of the sea, their spikes are designed only for defense against an attack from above. This is their only means of protection from sharks such as the Hammerhead, which preys largely on stingrays.
Unless a human provoked or stepped on a ray, they would have no reason to fear these gentle and reclusive creatures. In this video, a Southern Stingray is being filmed as it cruises over the reef, likely in search of a patch of sand to look for clams or other mollusks buried beneath. What is interesting is that the ray comes over a coral wall and descends very close to a scuba diver who is photographing a lobster in a crevice. The stingray can be seen angling toward the concealed diver, flapping slowly until the moment when it suddenly becomes aware that the scuba diver is a human. The stingray banks sharply and flaps its wings rapidly in an attempt to put some distance between himself and the diver. There is no attempt to attack or even use its barb in defense, despite the fact that it is very obviously startled.
This encounter is a perfect example of how stingrays react to humans, despite the widespread myth that they are aggressive.