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Butterfly Rays

Butterfly rays are members of Gymnuridae family. They are mainly found from the intertidal to the offshore shelf on soft bottom down to a depth of 110m, in all warm-temperate and tropical continental seas. They can be recognized by having large rounded-rhomboidal pectoral discs and short slender whip-like tails without caudal fins. Almost all butterfly rays species dorsal surface of disc and pelvic fins colour are brown, grey, or greenish above, and generally whitish below. They may or may not have spine in their tail.

Butterfly rays are slow-swimming bottom-dwellers, often found on soft mud or sand. They feed on bottom crustaceans including crabs and shrimp, bivalves, and small bottom fishes.

There is only one genus and about 16 species of butterfly rays worldwide. Malaysia is represented by 4 species.

Scientific Name: Gymnura poecilura  (Shaw, 1804)
English Name: Long-tailed Butterfly Ray
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 魟鱼 (Hōng yú), 魔鬼鱼 (Móguǐ yú), 花尾燕魟 (Huāwěi yàn hóng)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Pari Kelawar, Pari Tembikar, Pari Kelawar Bintik
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลากระเบนผีเสื้อ (Plāk ra ben p̄hīs̄eụ̄̂x)
Size: Maximum total length at least 66 cm, maximum disc width at least 82 cm
Main Identification Features: No dorsal fin, or a rudimentary dorsal fin. About 9 black bands on tail.
Habitat and Ecology: Shallow inshore waters, muddy and sandy bottoms, to 30 m depth. Feeds on fishes, molluscs and crustaceans.
Remarks: Be very careful when handling all types of ray.