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Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Raja (Dipturus) batis Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: snout very long and pointed, disc broadly rhombic with acute outer corners, anterior margins distinctly concave. Upper surface smooth in young, partly prickly in larger specimens, more so in adult females. Separate small orbital thorns may be present in juveniles; larger specimens without anv thorns on disc: a row of 12-18 thorns along tail, 1-2 thorns between dorsal fins (rarely none), and thorns often along lower edges of tail (regularly so in females); underside smooth in young, partly prickly in larger specimens, more so in adult females. Colour: upper surface olivegrey or brown with a variable pattern of light spots, dusky blotches and often an oval like an eye-spot on each pectoral fin in subadults; underside ashy-grey to blue-grey; mucous pores on both sides of disc always marked as black dots and short streaks, very numerous all over underside of disc, pattern apparently irregular. Size: to about 250 cm TL, males smaller.

Habitat: benthic, from coastal waters to about 600 m, mainly within the 200 m range; common, regularly landed by trawlers and longliners, mainly in northern Europe. Food: all kinds of bottom animals, large specimens seeming to prefer fishes. Reproduction: oviparous; egg-cases laid in spring and summer, very large, 150-250 by 80 150 mm (excluding horns).

Distribution: Atlantic coasts from Madeira and northern Morocco northward to Iceland, the Faroes and northern coasts of Norway, including North Sea (rare in southern part) and western part of Baltic (rare); also western part of Mediterranean (rare in eastern part).

Complementary iconography. Clark, 1931, in Faune ichthyol. Atl. N., fiche 55 | Muus & Dahlström, 1965: 54-55 | Bini, 1967: 169-170.
Eggs, embryonic and young stages. Williamson, 1913: 1, fig. 2 (egg-capsule) | Clark, 1922: 629-632, fig. 19 (egg-capsule).

Blue or gray skate (Raja batis)