Dasyatinae is primarily a marine subfamily, although some members live in brackish or fresh water. They are most common in shallow tropical waters but can be found in temperate regions as well. For the most part they live on the bottom, usually partially buried in sand or mud, sometimes near coral reefs. They may occupy turbulent intertidal waters, their flat bodies enabling them to hug the bottom, or live demersally (at the bottom) on continental shelves. Some are common in mangrove swamps. Others venture into the open ocean, with one species, the pelagic stingray, living entirely in the open ocean, away from the bottom. The subfamily Potamotrygoninae lives only in fresh water, sometimes found more than 1600 km away from the ocean. They lie buried in sand or mud in backwaters and shallows of rivers. Members of this group only occur in West Africa and the Atlantic drainages of South America. They do not appear in all South American Atlantic-draining river systems, however, and some, like Potamotrygon leopoldi, are only found in a single river. Their restricted habitat renders the group vulnerable to human activities (see Conservation).
Aquatic Biomes: pelagic ; benthic ; reef ; lakes and ponds; rivers and streams; coastal ; brackish water
Other Habitat Features: estuarine ; intertidal or littoral