Spiny Butterfly Ray – Gymnura altavela

The Spiny Butterfly Ray, also known as Giant Butterfly Ray is a species in the order of the Myliobatiformes, and thus belongs to the subclass of the Elasmobranchii.

Spiny Butterfly Ray - Gymnura altavela Elasmobranchii rays and sharks diving canary islands atlantic ocean canaries
Spiny Butterfly Ray – Gymnura altavela
Copyright: Martin Majewski


Gymnura altavela are sand-coloured with dark spots and substantially wider than long. It only has a short tail with a small sting. The body is almost triangular shaped. They reach maximum size of 220cmin width.

Habitat and Distribution

The Spiny Butterfly Ray prefers to live close to the coast, on a sandy bottom down to a depth of 100m, but you can also find it on rocky ground. When diving in the Canaries it is quiet rare.
It is also found in the eastern Atlantic from Portugal to Angola. In addition, it is common to the western Atlantic from the coast of the USA all the way to Argentina.


Gymnura altavela lives solitaire and feeds on fish, crustaceans, invertebrates and plankton.
It has a gestation period of 6 months, giving birth to 4-7 young animals.

Related Posts