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the web of life in southern Africa

Raja miraletus (Twineyed skate)

Linnaeus, 1758

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Chondrichthyes > Elasmobranchii > Batoidei > Rajoidei > Rajidae

Raja miraletus (Twineyed skate) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]

Identification

A small brown skate with two bright blue-centered ocelli or eyespots on the pectoral bases, a short bluntly pointed snout, and angular pectoral disk. Colour medium-brown above, often with small close-set dark brown spots, white below and without dark pores.

Size

To 50 cm (20 in) TL.

Range

West coast off Namibia, east coast from False Bay to Durban, but apparently absent from the western Cape; also eastern Atlantic north to Portugal and the Mediterranean Sea.

 

Habitat

Shelf and uppermost slope on soft bottom at 17 to 106 m; elsewhere to 300 m.

Biology

Common off the eastern Cape. Eats small bony fishes, including codlets, horsefish, and gobies, also shrimps, crabs, mantis shrimp, mysids, and fish offal.

Human Impact

Caught by bottom trawlers and skiboat anglers.

Text by Leonard J.V. Compagno, David A. Ebert and Malcolm J. Smale