Rare stingray caught off Shetland

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A specimen of the Violet or Pelagic stingray, Pteroplatytrygon violacea, has been caught by fishermen in the Shetland Isles.

The crew of the Guardian Angell hauled their nets near Whalfirth, at the north end of Yell Sound, Shetland when they noticed the ray still alive among the catch.

Realising that the fish was unusual, they took it to the nearby NAFC Marine Centre at Scalloway, Shetland where they confirmed that it was not the already rare locally common stingray, Dasyatis pastinaca but in fact the most northerly recorded catch of a Violet stingray.

The fish was a female, measuring 55cm from wing tip to wing tip, 47cm in body length and the total length including tail,(which was partly missing) was 112cm.

The Violet stingray gets its common name from its purplish colouration which is unusually on both the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the fish.

Possibly uniquely among stingrays, these fish swim in the middle of the water column rather than near or on the sea bed, feeding on jellyfish, squid, crustaceans and fish. They are more typically resident of tropical and sub-tropical waters and are distributed worldwide.