MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Small-eyed ray (Raja microocellata)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

Raja microocellata is a small skate and can grow up to 80 cm in length. It has a dorsoventrally flattened body with conspicuously small eyes and spiracles at the top of the head. It has a very pointed snout. The tail starts from rhomboid pectoral discs. Its dorsal region is greyish olive to light brown in colour with light blotches and long white bands, while the underside is white.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found off the southern and western coasts of England and most of Ireland. Particularly common in the Bristol and English Channels.

Global distribution

-

Habitat

The small-eyed ray is a coastal and inshore demersal species inhabiting the inner continental shelf waters down to a depth of 100 m. Usually found on sand and rock-sand bottoms.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Up to 80 cm in legth.
  • Greyish olive to light brown upper colouring with light blotches and long bands.
  • Underside is white.
  • Pointed but wide snout.
  • The tail is often slightly shorter than the body.
  • Upper surface is covered in spines.
  • A regular row of about 50 thorns from nape of neck to first dorsal fin.

Additional information

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Bibliography

  1. Ebert, D.A. & Sulikowski, J.A. (eds.), 2007. Biology of skates. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 80, 107-349.

  2. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line] http://www.fishbase.org, 2008-02-18

  3. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  4. McEachran, J.D. & Dunn, K.A., 1988. Phylogenetic analysis of skates, a morphologically conservative clade of elasmobranchs (Chondrichthyes: Rajidae). Copeia, 2, 271-290.

  5. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: http://www.nbnatlas.org.  Accessed 01 April 2017

  6. Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielson, J. & Tortonese, E. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I, II & III. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Raja microocellata Small-eyed ray. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/74

Last Updated: 22/05/2008