|PISCES : RAJIFORMES : Rajidae||CARTILAGINOUS FISH|
Description: The spotted ray has a flattened, diamond-shaped body with broad wing-like pectoral fins and a long tail. There are small spines on the front edge of the disc in young fish, in adults these spines extend to behind the eyes. The posterior part of the disc is free of spines, apart from one central row of large spines which runs from the centre of the disc, along the tail to the first dorsal fin. Young fish also have rows of spines along the sides of the tail. The upper surface of the ray is usually yellow to pale brown with numerous dark brown-black spots which do not extend to the edges of the disc. Often there is an ocellus (eye-spot) on each wing. Adult fish can grow to 75cm in length.
Habitat: The spotted ray lives in sandy or muddy areas at depths between 25-120m. Juveniles feed on amphipods, isopods and shrimps whilst adults feed mainly on crabs.
Distribution: This species is widespread all around the coasts of Britain and Ireland but appears to be absent from the east coast of England.
Similar Species: The spotted ray is similar in size and shape to the thornback ray (Raja clavata) however the latter has characteristic large spines with button-like bases scattered over its back.
Key Identification Features:
Distribution Map from BioMar data for Ireland - Google Earth map: download this placemark (not got Google Earth installed?)
Distribution Map from NBN: JNCC MNCR Seasearch data - Grid map : Interactive map : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.
|Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C., 2010. [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland |
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