I recently unveiled a new tier of Patreon rewards: 3D printed shark and ray models!For $17 per month, you will get a monthly 3D printed educational model of different shark or ray parts in the mail, and you’ll be supporting my efforts to provide these models to schools for free.
This month’s reward is the barb from a Pacific Cownose Ray, Rhinoptera steindachneri. This particular specimen is a part of the Texas A&M University Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collection, and was scanned as part of the #ScanAllFishes project!
I reached out to Heather Prestidge and Kevin Conway, curators of the Texas A&M collection. They told me that this particular specimen was collected in 1993 by John McEachran (author of the multi-volume “fishes of the Gulf of Mexico“) and Janine Caira (now a parasitologist at UConn). It was collected in Baja California, Mexico. Heather was pleased to learn that I was using their specimen for this project, and said “our specimens have an unlimited number of uses even after their primary project!”
Here’s a picture of another specimen of the same species from this collection, you can see why they’re sometimes called “Golden Cownose Rays”.
Here’s a CT scan focusing on the barb, from the Virtual Natural History Museum.
Learn more about the Pacific cownose ray and the science behind stingray barbs below!