Introducing the spiny butterfly ray (Gymnura altavela).
They get their name from their large wings and their short little tail.
“Oh, cute, it has a little tail.”
It’s serrated with spines on both sides.
“Ooh… never mind. Back away!”
They have small spots and blotches that vary from light to dark, too, allowing for expertise camouflage. The underside, like most elasmobranchs, is white or lightly dusted brown. The juvenile spiny butterfly ray has paler skin, darkening as it ages.
They’re not too heavy, only getting up to 9kg (about 20 lbs). They are ovoviviparous, with a gestation period that lasts anywhere from four to nine months. The litters vary from two to eight pups. Besides that, not much is known about the biology of this ray.
Their distribution is pretty patchy, but can be found over sand and mud substrates around 55 m (180 ft). These rays have a few predators, such as sharks and parasites (specifically the tapeworm Anthobothrium altavelae).
Isn't the spiny butterfly ray a beaut?