The thornback ray has topped a poll of Britain’s favourite marine creature at Bristol Aquarium.

It narrowly pipped the moon jellyfish for the top spot, with spider crab in third and the pollock bringing up the rear.

The vote was part of the Harbourside attraction’s ‘Great British Sea Adventure’ event which celebrates the richness and diversity of our native marine life.

Bristol Aquarium’s David Waines said: “We wanted to come up with a fun and interactive way to introduce visitors to the wealth of exciting sea creatures living on our doorstep.

“We came up with a representative list of four fishy candidates and then used one of our workshops to try and persuade the public to vote for their favourites.

“Our open-top ray displays often figure among the most popular features here at the aquarium so it didn’t come as a complete surprise they topped the poll.

“The fact that we have recently had a pair of very rare twin thornback rays born here as well might also have swayed opinion in their favour.

“However as far as we’re concerned the vote was a winner for everyone as it has really helped to showcase just how diverse and exciting the marine life around our shores is and hopefully we’ve been able to communicate that to our visitors,” he added.

Thornbacks are the most common ray in British waters and can grow up to 1.2 metres in length. The species gets its name from the coarse prickles which cover their upper body.

Rays belong to the same family as sharks and are effectively ‘flattened-out’ versions of their close cousins. UK waters are home to at least 15 different species including the electric ray and the common skate, which can reach lengths of up to three metres.

Issued by Bristol Aquarium. For more information please contact Tina Patel or David Waines on 0117 929 8929.