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Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Gymnura altavela (Linnaeus, 1758)

Diagnosis: snout obtuse, forming an angle of about 135°; disc about twice as broad as long; tail about 1/4 of disc length, with one or several serrated spines near base. A slender tentacle-like process pointing backward from inner margin of spiracle. Dorsal fin absent. Upper surfaces smooth in young, but covered with thornlets in adults. Colour: upper surfaces dark brown, greyish-brown or reddish-brown, often with small dark or light spots or blotches; underside white. Size: to about 4 m disc width.

Habitat: benthic on sandy and muddy bottoms, from shallow water to about 60 m, rare. Food: fishes, crustaceans and molluscs. Reproduction: ovoviviparous; 4-7 embryos per female, gestation lasting about 6 months.

Distribution: Atlantic coasts from Madeira and Morocco north to northern Portugal, also, whole of Mediterranean (including Black Sea). Elsewhere, southward to the Canaries and West Africa as far as Angola; also, western Atlantic from off Massachusetts southward to the La Plata river, Argentina.

Complementary iconography. Rochebrune, 1882, col. pl. II | Bini, 1967: 183-184, fig
Eggs, embryonic and young stages. Capapé, 1974c: 350.

Spiny butterfly ray (Gymnura altavela)