California Butterfly Ray
- The disk or body of this ray is almost twice as wide as it is long.
- Their pectoral (side) fins are not separated from their head, leading to the triangular shape of the body.
- Their tail is short with a small stinger at its base.
- Brown or gray coloration on their back with lighter mottling; white coloration on their belly.
- They can be 5 feet wide.
- Point Conception, California to Paita, Peru.
- Gulf of California, Mexico.
- They are an inshore species.
- They are common in shallow bays and along sandy beaches.
- Found in inlets and jetties.
- The embryos are nourished by small yolk sacs inside eggs inside the mother and then are born alive.
- The litter size is often 4-16 pups.
- The pups have a disk of 8-10 inches in width at birth and grow rapidly.
- Crustaceans, mollusks, fin fish.
- Large fishes, especially sharks.
- They are commercially harvested in the Gulf of California for their liver oil.
- Many species of butterfly rays can quickly change color to blend into their surroundings to avoid predation.
Sources: Pierfishing.com; bullbuster.net; Navarro-Garcia et al. 2004; animaldiversity.org; Mexican-Fish.com
Photo: Nanette Oser Oselett
Come see a Butterfly Ray and its elasmobranch relatives in person at Birch Aquarium’s Shark Shores!