Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lesser Electric Ray

Narcine bancroftii
The Lesser Electric Ray is a smaller species of ray that is found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. They are very slow, sluggish swimmers, and are most commonly found in shallow, sandy waters.

As the name suggests, Lesser Electric Rays are able to create a small electric charge, thanks to two organs in front of their eyes. They are capable of producing up to 37volts, and use their skill to hunt prey and to defend themselves.

The Lesser Electric Ray is in trouble. The species is listed as Critically Endangered, due to high amounts of bycatch capture over years and years. Even if a captured Ray is set free, damage may have already been done, as pregnant captured females will often abort their offspring. Lesser Electric Rays are ovoviviparous, and can have very long gestational periods due to the ability to delay embryonic growth. Terminated pregnancies due to bycatch can have a huge impact on overall reproductive success in the species.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : Atlantic Ocean
Size : Length up to 18in (45cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Chondrichthyes -- Order : Torpediniformes
Family : Narcinidae -- Genus : Narcine -- Species : N. bancroftii

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