X-ray of a new stingray

January 6, 2013 • 3:04 pm

Isn’t this X-ray beautiful?

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It’s a young male.

Yes, as far as I know those ribs are the cartilaginous skeleton of this animal, photographed by Ken Jones and displayed everywhere. This photo and description comes from Our Amazing Planet, for it’s a new species, a “pancake stringray” described as looking like a “pancake with noses”.

The team’s work in the Upper Amazon confirmed the new genus, Heliotrygon, and the two new species, Heliotrygon gomesi and Heliotrygon rosai. Besides their pancake-like appearance, both rays are big, have slits on their bellies and a tiny spine on their tails.

Most of Lovejoy and Carvalho’s specimens came from the Rio Nanay, near Iquitos, Peru. Their discovery brings the total number of neotropical stingray genera — from an area that also includes tropical Mexico, the West Indies and Central America — to four. Before their study, the last new genus of stingrays from the Amazon was described in 1987.

Here’s a live one:

CREDIT: Ken Jones.
CREDIT: Ken Jones.

Both species, and I’m not sure which one is above, are described in an article in Zootaxa from last year. The reference is below but, sadly, I have no free access to the article (the link below takes you to the abstract). This is the first failed biology search I’ve had at my University library!

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deCarvalho, M. R. and N. R. Loveyoy. 2011.  Morphology and phylogenetic relationships of a remarkable new genus and two new species of Neotropical freshwater stingrays from the Amazon basin (Chondrichthyes: Potamotrygonidae).  Zootaxa 2776:13-48.

30 thoughts on “X-ray of a new stingray

    1. There are several others. The polka dot stingray (freshwater Amazon species) is sometimes kept in aquariums. It’s black with round white or yellow spots.

  1. Beautiful!

    I wonder what the things that look like fins near the bottom of the xray, near the tail, are? Something internal? Do they have a pair of fins on the ventral side?

  2. Goodness, it really does look like a pancake, the way the first cooked surface is marked by the oil in the pan, before it’s flipped to finish. And the xray is so beautiful, it could sell as artwork!

  3. The “wings” or disk of a sting ray are its greatly enlarged pectoral fins; the cartilaginous elements are fin rays (not ribs). The pelvic fins are also visible in the x-ray.

  4. I no longer have all my neotropical fish literature at hand, but close as I can figure the Potamotrygonidae are confined to South America. I understand there are Dasyatid species here and there, which get into fresh water. Anyway, a quick search turned up no freshwater rays from Central America. We didn’t get any in Belize.

  5. Looking at the stingray photo (not xray), both by sons independently saw an image of cat, sitting on haunches, viewed from front. It is a truly a miracle, the divine feline. Bow down and worship kitteh!

  6. Looking at the stingray photo (not xray), both by sons independently saw an image of cat, sitting on haunches, viewed from front. It is truly a miracle, the divine feline. Bow down and worship kitteh!

    1. Having just watched ‘Prometheus’ on a translatlantic flight – that’s no kitteh, that’s an Alien face-hugger!

  7. Very, very cool and beautiful! The arrangement makes sense from a structural standpoint. “Minimum energy” rules the living world rather strictly.

  8. The X-ray image makes me think of the “face hugger” phase (instar?) of the life cycle of the “Aliens” alien.
    Art predicting science, again?

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