Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Rajiformes
(Skates and rays) > Rajidae
Etymology: Leucoraja: Greek, leykos = white + Latin, raja = a fish, Raja sp. (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; demersal; depth range 70 - 676 m (Ref. 56504). Temperate, preferred 6°C (Ref. 107945); 60°N - 37°N, 25°W - 36°E
Eastern Atlantic: Iceland (Ref. 12462), southern Norway, Skagerrak and Morocco, including western Mediterranean. Records as far south to Mauritania and Senegal could not be verified due to lacking descriptions and specimens; most are probably misidentifications of Leucoraja leucosticta.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 120 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4426); 117.0 cm TL (female); common length : 70.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4426)
Morphology | Morphometrics
soft rays: 0. Snout short, its tip somewhat pronounced; upper surface entirely spinulose, about 8 thorns generally in a complete row around inner margin of eye and a triangle of thorns on nape or shoulder region; underside with prickles only on snout, between gill-slits, along abdomen, and at anterior margins of disc; tail only slightly longer than body; upper surface reddish-brown to dark brown with 4-6 creamy spots on each wing, underside white (Ref. 3167).
Found in offshore shelf waters and on upper slope, mainly around the 100 m line (Ref. 3167). Depth range from 70-275 m (Ref. 03167), and from 463-676 m in eastern Ionian Sea (Ref. 56504). Feed on all kinds of bottom animals (Ref. 3167). 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 8.3-9.2 cm long and 4.6-5.3 cm wide (Ref. 41303, 41251, 41311). Maximum length for female is 117 cm (Ref. 41333).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Oviparous, paired eggs are laid. Embryos feed solely on yolk (Ref. 50449). With no definite egg laying period (Ref. 3167). Distinct pairing with embrace. Young may tend to follow large objects, such as their mother (Ref. 205).
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. (Ref. 27314)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00309 (0.00138 - 0.00693), b=3.20 (3.02 - 3.38), based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.5 ±0.37 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (Fec assumed to be <100).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High to very high vulnerability (66 of 100) .