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the web of life in southern Africa

Rajella barnardi (Bigthorn skate)

(Norman, 1935)

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

Rajella barnardi (Bigthorn skate) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]

Identification

A grey skate with a short, obtusely pointed shout, large eyes, a thick disk, tail about as long as body, and conspicuous large white thorns on upper surface including snout. Colour light grey above, grey or white below, with darker patches on rear of disk and underside of tail.

Size

To 68 cm TL and 44 cm DW.

Range

West and southeast coast, from Namibia to Algoa Bay. Endemic.

 

Habitat

Outer shelf and upper slope at 170 to 913 m.

Biology

Common off the western Cape. Feeds on small crustaceans, including crabs, shrimp, mantis shrimp, mysids, also squid and polychaete worms.

Human Impact

Caught by hake trawlers.

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