Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Rajiformes
(Skates and rays) > Rajidae
Etymology: Raja: Latin, raja, -ae = a sting ray (Raja sp.) (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; brackish; demersal; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 330 m (Ref. 92298), usually 0 - 50 m (Ref. 55280). Subtropical; 48°N - 22°N, 91°W - 59°W (Ref. 55280)
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 49 - 58 cm
Max length : 84.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1125)
Small skate, with irregular darker spots and bars on dorsal surface. Translucent area on each side of mid-dorsal ridge on snout (Ref. 26938). Single row of thorns along the midridge of the back (Ref. 6902). Disk with dark brown bars and streaks and some spots. Front edges nearly straight or slightly concave (Ref. 7251).
Western Atlantic: Massachusetts to southern Florida (USA) and eastern Gulf of Mexico. Also northern Gulf of Mexico (Ref. 26938).
Found from saltwater parts of estuaries and bays of 330 m (Ref. 26938). Inhabit inshore areas. Prefer waters of 10°-21°C. Feed mainly on decapod crustaceans, bivalves, polychaetes, squids and fishes (Ref. 3824). Breed while inshore (Ref. 6902). Oviparous. Distinct pairing with embrace. Young may tend to follow large objects, such as their mother (Ref. 205). Eggs are oblong capsules with stiff pointed horns at the corners deposited in sandy or muddy flats (Ref. 205). Egg capsules are 5.1-8.9 cm long and 3.8-5.7 cm wide (Ref. 41249, 41307, 41301, 41358).
McEachran, J.D. and K.A. Dunn, 1998. Phylogenetic analysis of skates, a morphologically conservative clade of elasmobranchs (Chondrichthyes: Rajidae). Copeia 1998(2):271-290.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; bait: occasionally
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.7 ±0.6 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.20; Fec assumed to be <100).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (57 of 100) .