Having been privileged to spend time with undulate rays in their natural habitat, we've learned something about their lives and habits. We're sharing that experience with these short videos.
Rays along UK shores
Rays were swimming in our seas when dinosaurs walked along British shores.
We no longer have dinosaurs but in the seas around the UK about 21 different species of rays can be seen. Perhaps one of the most beautiful, the undulate ray, can be found around the south coast of the UK, but little is known about their habits and movements in the wild.
The undulate ray project is exploring the lifestyle of the undulate ray, using computer recognition as part of a long-term monitoring of an undulate ray population on the south coast.
The Undulate Ray
The undulate ray, sometimes referred to as “painted ray” because of the elaborate pattern on their dorsal surface, is perhaps one of our most beautiful fish. Although considered an endangered species on a global basis, they can be common on parts of the UK south coast and may be the predominant ray species in certain areas. Considered as a “flat shark”, they are a species of skate with the official name Raja undulata which derives from the motion of their wings when swimming.
Undulate rays appear to be home loving creatures returning to the same place over several years, often within a few metres of where they were previously seen. They are not always on the same site, where they go and how far they may travel is still a mystery.
Even when they are there, they can be difficult to spot, their elaborate pattern provides a perfect camouflage on certain seabed's.
If you approach them carefully, you may be allowed to get up close and personal.