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Author: Regan, 1923

Raja (Raja) polystigma Regan, 1923

Diagnosis: snout short. Upper surface of disc prickly only on snout, along front edges and along back; sides of tail spinulose. A few small thorns in front of eye and 1-2 behind; a single thorn on mid-shoulder, as well as thorns along midline of body and tail present mainly in young; a median row of 22-28 thorns on tail and a thorn between dorsal fins, persisting with growth; underside almost smooth except for prickles on snout and at front margins of disc. Colour: upper surface greyish-brown with many black and several light spots; a large eye-spot on middle of hind part of pectoral fins, being a broad dark ring surrounding a narrow white ring and a dark centre; underside white. Size: to about 50-60 cm TL.

Habitat: benthic in about 100-400 m, mainly on soft bottoms; locally moderately common. Food: a preference for crustaceans and bony fishes, but this differs with sex, size and also partly with season. Reproduction: oviparous; egg-cases about 46 by 35 mm (excluding horns); ripe females occur mostly in winter and deposit 20-62 egg-cases per year (depending on size).

Distribution: western parts of Mediterranean only; more common along African coasts.

Note: placed in the sub-genus Raja by Capape, Quignard & Kartas (1980).

Complementary iconography. Clark, 1931, in: Faune ichthyol. Atl. N., fiche 39 | Bini, 1967: 151-152.

Speckled ray (Raja polystigma)