Spiny Butterfly Ray


The ‍Spiny Butterfly Ray, also scientifically known ‌as Gymnura altavela, is a species of ray within the family Gymnuridae. Looking like a cross ‍between a shark and a ray, this species exhibits ​certain distinctive characteristics that make it​ one ⁣of the most intriguing in the marine ecosystem.

Conservation Status

As of 2021, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorizes the Spiny Butterfly Ray as vulnerable. Conservation efforts are currently underway to protect and revive this species, such as limitations on fishing and habitat protection initiatives.


Characteristics Average Range
Length 1.8 m 1-2 m
Weight 60 kg 30-150 kg
Average Lifespan 15 years N/A


The‌ Spiny Butterfly Ray is an oceanic species found in ⁢various oceans around⁤ the globe. They can primarily be found in the eastern and western Atlantic Ocean and have been spotted⁢ in ‍areas such as Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Gulf of Mexico. They ‌tend to be prevailingly nomadic, meaning they do not show typical migration patterns.


The ⁤Spiny Butterfly Ray is a bottom-dwelling species,⁣ frequently found in sandy or muddy areas. They prefer warm, nearshore waters but can reach depths of ‌up to 100 meters.

Water Type


Depth Range

Usually found in depths of less than 100‍ meters.

Temperature Range

Prefers warmer waters with ⁣temperatures above 20°C.

When and Where to See

Although the Spiny Butterfly Ray does not exhibit pronounced seasonal patterns, they are generally more active during warmer months. During the day, they are most ‍often seen buried in the sand, with​ their eyes and spiracles visible above the surface.

Best Fishing Locations

Localities that have ​reported a healthy population of Spiny Butterfly Rays include:

1. Canary Islands
2. Gulf of Mexico
3. East​ Coast of the United ⁢States
4. Azores
5. Adriatic Sea
6. Madeira
7. Bahamas
8. Senegal
9. ⁤Tunisia
10. Algeria

General tips for finding this ‍species include looking for them in warmer, nearshore waters and sandy areas where they commonly ​bury themselves during the day.

How to Catch

In fishing for‌ Spiny Butterfly‌ Rays, using a heavy-duty rod and reel setup with a strong line is recommended ‍due to their size and strength. Soft crabs, shrimp or squid can serve as effective‍ bait. Be careful, though, as they’re known to put up​ a fight when​ hooked.

Identification ‍Guide

Spiny Butterfly Rays are easily identifiable by‍ their broad, flat, diamond-shaped body and their long, whip-like tail. They are usually gray-brown and may have small spots or reticulations.

Additional Information

The Spiny Butterfly Ray feeds primarily on small fish and invertebrates. Their natural predators include sharks and other larger ‍carnivorous fishes. The biggest threat to this species is overfishing. ‌They are occasionally trapped ‍in nets by commercial fisheries and are often sought​ after by sport ⁢fishermen due‍ to their size and fighting spirit.

While ​not specifically mentioned in folklore ⁣or myths, Spiny Butterfly Rays are admired for their beauty and fascinating behavior and are often featured in⁣ aquariums.

References and Further Reading

For more detailed knowledge about​ the Spiny Butterfly Ray, the following ‍sources ⁣are recommended: