Boschung, Herbert T. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
- Suborder Platyrhinoidei
- Suborder Zanobatoidei
- Suborder Myliobatoidei
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An order of batoid fishes (subclass Elasmobranchii). Typical members of the order Myliobatiformes are described by the following characteristics: The disc is strongly depressed and varies from oval longitudinally to much broader than long; the tail is well marked off from the body sector, very short to long and whiplike, and equipped with a poisonous spine in some species; the pectoral rays are either continuous along the side of the head or separate from the head and modified to form rostral lobes or finlike rostral appendages (cephalic fins); the dorsal fin, if present, is near the base of the tail; and development is ovoviviparous. Sometimes an individual ray may have two or three, very rarely four, tail spines rather than the usual one. Multiple spines result from the failure of older spines to shed before new ones develop. Most species are tropical or subtropical, although some species occur in warm temperate and cool temperate zones. The usual habitat is shallow shore waters and upper continental and insular slopes. Some, such as the eagle rays, may venture far out to sea, but none are considered truly oceanic rays. See also: Batoidea; Elasmobranchii
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