Stingray Wakes

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This numerical simulation shows a swimming stingray and the vorticity generated by its motion. Stingrays are undulatory swimmers, meaning that the wavelength of their motion is much shorter than their body length. Manta rays, in contrast, move their fins through a wavelength longer than their body length, making them oscillatory swimmers. Observe the difference in this video. To swim faster, stingrays increase the frequency of their undulation, not the amplitude. This is quite common among swimmers because increasing the amplitude also increases projected frontal area, which causes additional drag. Increasing the frequency of motion does not affect the projected area, making it the more efficient locomotive choice. (Video credit: G. Weymouth; additional research credit: E. Blevins; submitted by L. Buss)

Also, FYFD now has a Google+ page for those who prefer to follow along and share that way. – Nicole

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