Wednesday 29 January 2014

Porcupine Ray

Image: Christa Rohrbach
Urogymnus asperrimus

It's a stingray...

Image: Olivier Cochard-Labbé
That lacks a sting.

But it's the PORCUPINE Ray. And while it isn't a raygun that fires porcupines at the press of a button, it's still best to be wary of anything that has "porcupine" in its name.

So it is that the Porcupine Ray is covered in armour plating speckled with sharp thorns all over its back and tail. Rays, like sharks and other cartilaginous fish, are the proud owners of tough scales known as denticles. Their skin can be used to make a kind of leather known as shagreen, and the Porcupine Ray's particularly rough texture was often used for sword handles.

Or maybe you could just pick one up by the tail and slap a guy across the face with it? They can get over a metre (3.3 ft) across so they'd pack a significant punch!

Image: Olivier ROUX
Gigantic spiracle for breathing
The Porcupine Ray isn't common, but it does have a huge range that clings to all the coastal waters from South Africa to Australia. They spend their time unearthing crustaceans, worms and fish from the sandy sea floor and crushing them between their flattened teeth.

To be honest, I'm still waiting for my porcupine raygun. Give me my porcupine raygun and my jetpack and I will become the greatest highwayman the world has ever seen.


TexWisGirl said...

sword handles - who knew?

Crunchy said...

Fire the Porcupine Beam!

Porakiya said...

ON the bright side, they don't have poisonous spines ;)

Lear's Fool said...

Cartilaginous fishes in general make excellent flails, don't they?

Joseph JG said...

@TexWisGirl: It's odd for sure!

@Crunchy: It's the perfect eco-technological solution!

@Porakiya Draekojin: Yeah, they could have been venomous all over!

@Lear's Fool: They are the perfect shape and have teeth in all the right places!

Lear's Fool said...

*looks back at our comments*

We are awful, awful people!

Joseph JG said...

Awful people are the best people!