Amblyraja radiata

(Donovan, 1808)

Thorny skate
Classification: Elasmobranchii Rajiformes Rajidae

Reference of the original description
Donovan, E. (1802)
The natural history of British fishes, including scientific and general descriptions of the most interesting species, and an extensive selection of accurately finished coloured plates. London: 1–516 unnumbered, Pls. 1–120. [v. 1, 1802:1–70, Pls. 1–24; v. 2, 1803:71–164, Pls. 25–48; v. 3, 1804:165–300, Pls. 49–72; v. 4, 1806:301–406, Pls. 73–96, v. 5, 1808: 407–516, Pls. 97–120.]

Image of the original description

Amblyraja radiata (Donovan, 1808)

Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Amblyraja cf. radiata, Dasybatis radiata, Raia americana, Raia radiata, Raia scabrata, Raja americana, Raja radiata, Raja scabrata, Raja (Amblyraja) radiata, Raja (Raja) radiata

Amblyraja radiata
Holotype: XXXX: No types known;
Raia scabrata
Syntype: MCZ: 254-S MCZ: 365-S MCZ: 1139-S MCZ: 1289-S

Description :

Citation: Amblyraja radiata (Donovan, 1808): In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 04/2024

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Amblyraja radiata (Donovan, 1808), © Arve Lynghammar, University of Tromsø, Norway
Common names
deu \(T\) Sternrochen, spa Escrita, spa Raya radiante, fra \(T\) Raie radiée, fra \(T\) Raie radiée épineuse, fra \(T\) Raie épineuse, eng Maiden ray, eng Miller, eng Starry ray, eng Starry skate, eng Thornback, eng Thorny back, eng Thorny skate, por Raia-repregada

Short Description
Stiff, bluntly triangular snout and tail shorter than body [536]. Disc rhombic in adults, rounder in young [17658]. Upper surface very rough, with solid thornlets scattered all over disc and tail, underside smooth, except for some prickles on snout; a constant pattern of separate orbital thorns, a regular row of 13-17 large thorns from nape to first dorsal fin [7182]; large, close-set thorns with star-shaped bases at upper disc [536]. Brownish grey with scattered irregular black blotches dorsally; white ventrally, with darker spots and blotches on tail and pelvic fins; black spot on tip of tail [20085]. Diet: Barents Sea (data base: of 2192 stomachs examined): Thorny skate stomach contents consisted primarily of fish and large crustaceans (shrimps and crabs). Of more than 18 species of fish identified, young cod (Gadus morhua) (12% by mass) and capelin (Mallotus villosus) (6% by mass) were the most prevalent. Demersal crustaceans were represented mainly by northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis) (9% by mass). Fisheries waste, which was an important component in the diet of the skates, occurred in 12% of stomachs and was 35% of the mass of stomach contents. The importance of small food items (Gammaridea, Euphausiidae and Polychaeta) reduced with increasing length of skate, whereas the importance of large crustaceans and fish increased. [5910];

Eastern Atlantic: Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland to the English Channel, including the North Sea (except southern part) and the western part of the Baltic; also off Cape Town, South Africa [536]. Western Atlantic: Greenland and Hudson Bay, Canada to South Carolina, USA [17658]. Source:

Human uses
fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; price category: medium; price reliability: very questionable: based on ex-vessel price for species in this family

Oviparous, paired eggs are laid. Embryos feed solely on yolk [733]. Distinct pairing with embrace. Young may tend to follow large objects, such as their mother [17086]. Produces 13-20 eggs in a year (Ref. 41250). A boreal to arctic species, living offshore on hard and soft bottoms at temperatures of -1.4-14°C. Parasites of the species include 3 protozoans, 1 turbellarian, 1 monogenean, 1 trematode, 10 cestodes, 5 nematodes and 4 copepods, found on the skin, digestive tract and body cavity (Ref. 5951).

Size / Weight / Age
105 cm TL (male/unsexed; [5693]); max. published weight: 4,250 g (Ref. 4699)

demersal; oceanodromous [17660]; brackish; marine; depth range 20 - 1000 m [7180], usually 50 - 100 m [7180]

shark-references Species-ID=209;

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)
  • Lafystius morhuanus Bousfield, 1987 [16606]
  • Micropharynx parasitica Jaegerskiold, 1896 [23601]

  • Trypanosoma rajae Laveran & Mesnil, 1902 [21433]

  • Haemogregarina delagei Laveran & Mesnil, 1901 [21433]