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Author: Donovan, 1808

Raja (Amblyraja) radiata Donovan, 1808

Diagnosis: snout short. Upper surface very rough, less from prickles than from solid thornlets scattered all over disc and tail. Thorns conspicuously large, their bases typically ribbed and with the margin stellate (as also in the thornlets). A constant pattern of separate orbital thorns, a single one on nape and also mid-shoulder, and two on each side of shoulder; a regular row of 13-17 large thorns from nape to first dorsal fin, rarely more; if dorsal fins separate (rare) sometimes a thorn between them; underside smooth, except for some prickles on snout. Colour: upper surface greyish-brown, sometimes clouded with darker or a few pale white blotches, also often with black dots arranged as rosettes; underside white, with occasional small dark blotches. Size: to about 60 cm TL (lower latitudes and moderate depths), up to about 90 cm TL (higher latitudes and deeper water); mature at about 40 cm (in the first case) or may be still immature at 80 cm TL (the second case).

Habitat: benthic, from coastal waters to about 1,000 m in boreal and arctic latitudes, mainly at 50-100 m on all kinds of bottom; common, regularly landed in large numbers. Food: all kinds of bottom animals. Reproduction: oviparous; egg-cases 42-66 by 25-53 mm (excluding horns).

Distributution: whole northern Atlantic, southward to the English Channel, all (except southern part) of North Sea, western part of Baltic. Elsewhere, north-western Atlantic southward to South Carolina; also reported from western side of South Africa, in deepwater.

Complementary iconography. Clark, 1930, in Faune ichthyol. Atl. N., fiche 44 Bigelow & Schroeder, 1953: fig. 55-56 | Muus & Dahlström, 1965: 53.
Eggs, embryonic and young stages. Williamson, 1913: 5, fig. 5 (egg-capsule) | Clark, 1930, in Faune ichthyol. Atl. N. (egg-capsule), fiche 44.

Starry skate (Raja radiata)