X-ray of a new stingray

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!

__________

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.

29 Comments

  1. Hempenstein
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Freshwater! Are there others? (Never thought about it, but wouldda assumed they were all saltwater.)

    • Posted January 6, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      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.

  2. Matthew Cobb
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I think Zootaxa is free online Jerry.

    • Matthew Cobb
      Posted January 6, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      No you are right, Oh Master. It isn’t.

      • Filipe
        Posted January 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Well, here I had no trouble, the link took me directly to the pdf.

        • Filipe
          Posted January 6, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          But then I was connected to my university account…

          • Dominic
            Posted January 7, 2013 at 4:11 am | Permalink

            Which uni? UCL doesn’t take it…

      • Dominic
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 4:10 am | Permalink

        The sub rates US$9,800.00
        http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/support/subannual.html

        not many libraries are going to bite that cherry! Bet the big Museums will take it though…

        • Posted January 7, 2013 at 6:11 am | Permalink

          If they charged a tenth of that, they’d probably get a hundred times the number of subscribers.

  3. Kevin Alexander
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    In a cathedral on some alien planet, that is a stained glass window.

  4. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    – Ceiling Cat squished them but good!

    Really amazing cartilage.

  5. Melissa Johnson
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Fantastically beautiful!

    • marycanada FCD
      Posted January 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:09 am | Permalink

      + 2

  6. jesse
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    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?

    • Achrachno
      Posted January 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Claspers, I’d guess. It is reported to be male.

  7. Posted January 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful! So much detail…digital x-rays are amazing.
    Meanwhile, back in the Eocene…here is (or was) Heliobatis radians:

  8. Posted January 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    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!

  9. Posted January 6, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:11 am | Permalink

      Thanks. Now I see that.

    • JBlilie
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Yes, thanks for poitning that out. The point of origin of the rays gives it away.

  10. Jim Thomerson
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    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.

  11. Mateus
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    If that X-Ray picture was in a higher resolution I’d use it as my wallpaper, it’s that pretty.

  12. shermanbj
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    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!

  13. shermanbj
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    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!

    • BilBy
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

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

  14. JBlilie
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

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

  15. stephbk123
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on CHRONICLES and commented:
    interesting!

  16. gravelinspector
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    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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