- The Anthropological Society of Nippon
- 人類學雜誌 (ISSN:00035505)
- vol.70, no.3-4, pp.149-162, 1963 (Released:2008-02-26)
Stingrays are dangerous fish living in the tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate seas.They are classified into the following seven families; Dasyatidae, Gymnuridae, Myliobatidae, Rhino pteridae, Mobulidae, Urolophidae and Potamotrygonidae, only a few species having been studied by venomologist. The families dealt with in this paper are Dasyatidae and Potamotrygonidae.The representative species of Japanese Dasyatidae is Dasyatis akajei (Müller & Henle) called as Akaei, Ei, Ebuta, Kasebuta (in Japanese), Ai-koro-chiep (in Ainu). This fish, though not so delicious, has been widely utilized by mankind because of it habit and caudal sting. Its origin may probably be traced back as far as to the Paleolithic age (Magdalenian).Ainu has a lore that this Akaei is " a fish that causes earthquakes ". In Palau Is. of Micronesia, there is a tale that Rurr (in Palau ; stingray) and Kim (in Palau ; giant clam) fought each other.Caudal stings have been from old times utilized as arrow poison because of their barbs, and venom gland which secretes strong toxic substances. They have beenused as arrow heads especially by the Ainu, Negritos of Malay (Jakun and Benua), Mentawei islanders, and Indians living in the catchment area of the River Amazon. The caudal stings have also been widely used throughout the world as hunting implements and arms.They were utilized as fish spears by aborigines of northern Australia and Papuans, and were used as spears or harpoons in Micronesia (Truk, Palau, and Mortlock), and in Melanesia (Admiralty, Fiji, New Caledonia, and New Hebrides). As daggers they were employed in Mortlock, Admiralty, and Solomon (Ontong Java and Nukumanu).From Jomon shell mound of Japan many old stings have been excavated which seem to have been used as arrow heads or harpoon heads. This paper has been devoted to the emeritus professor Kotondo Hasebe, Tohoku University.