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the web of life in southern Africa

Rajella leopardus (Leopard skate)

(von Bonde & Swart, 1923)

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

Rajella leopardus (Leopard skate) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]

Identification

A large grey skate with a moderately long snout, small eyes, flat disk, tail about as long as body, inconspicuous small light thorns on upper surface including snout, middorsal line of thorns not reduced. Colour medium grey to brownish above, often with blackish spots, white below or white mottled with dusky patches.

Size

To about 95 cm long and 63 cm wide.

Range

West and southeast coasts, from northern Namibia to Algoa Bay. Endemic.

 

Habitat

Slope at 300 to 923 m.

Biology

Common. Feeds on bottom crustaceans, including shrimp, mysids, amphipods, slipper lobsters, mantis shrimp, and hermit crabs, also dragonets, rattails, hake, lanternfish, sea pens, cuttlefish, and polychaete worms.

Human Impact

Caught by hake trawlers.

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