Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; benthopelagic; oceanodromous; depth range 2 - 800 m (Ref. 35509), usually 10 - 150 m (Ref. 35388). Subtropical; 60°N - 35°S, 82°W - 36°E
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 180 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 2803); common length : 40.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3261); max. published weight: 90.0 kg (Ref. 7251)
Morphology | Morphometrics
Large ray with a huge, paddle-shaped caudal fin and with no papillae around spiracles. Shiny black or dark grey above, underside white (Ref. 5578). Broad subcircular disc, short snout anterior to the eyes. Smooth skin, short thick tail (Ref. 6902). Dark chocolate to purplish brown above, without spots, white below, but with edges of disc and pelvic fins of same hue as upper surface, tail with irregular dark margins (Ref. 6902).
Eastern Atlantic: Scotland (rare in North Sea) to Morocco, whole of Mediterranean, but not Black Sea; Cap Blanc in Mauritania to Gulf of Guinea, São Tomé Island; Walvis Bay, Namibia to Mossel Bay, South Africa (Ref. 5578). Western Atlantic: Nova Scotia, Canada south to Brazil (Ref. 26340).
Juveniles benthic over soft bottoms or near coral reefs (Ref. 12951) from 10-150 m; adults are semi-pelagic to pelagic, swimming in the water column and have been reported to migrate over long distances (Ref. 2803). Feeds mainly on pelagic and benthic bony fishes and small sharks (Ref. 5578). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). Packs a powerful electric shock of up to 220 volts (Ref. 9710).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialised structures (Ref. 50449). With up to 60 in a litter. Gestation period one year (Ref. 12951). Size at birth about 23 cm (Ref. 12951).
Stehmann, M. and D.L. Bürkel, 1984. Torpedinidae. p. 159-162. In P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese (eds.) Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean. UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 1. (Ref. 2803)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Fisheries: of no interest
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=0.02291 (0.01280 - 0.04101), b=2.94 (2.77 - 3.11), based on LWR estimates for species & (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.5 ±0.6 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (up to 60 offspring only).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (87 of 100) .