Raja asterias

Author: Delaroche, 1809

Raja (Raja) asterias Delaroche, 1809

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Raja asterias Delaroche, 1809 (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: upper surface smooth in juveniles, but very prickly in adults; underside partly prickly in large specimens. Orbital thorns separate; a slightly irregular median row of 50-60 thorns from nape to first dorsal fin, sometimes interrupted on back, 0-2 thorns between the widely separate dorsal fins; an additional parallel row on tail occasionally in adults. Colour: upper surface light brown with scattered dark dots which partly encircle larger light spots; underside white. Size: to about 70 cm TL.

Habitat: benthic from inshore waters to about 100 m; locally very common, especiaily in western Mediterranean. Food: all kinds of benthic animals. Reproduction: oviparous; about 30 to more than 100 egg-cases per year (depending on size of female), peak in summer to early autumn; egg-cases 45 by 30 mm (excluding horns), 110 by 45 mm in Tunisian waters; development of embryos 5-6 months. Locally exploited.

Distribution: Mediterranean, less common in eastern part; also, Strait of Gibraltar, southern Portugal (questionable) and northern Morocco (reported common).

Complementary iconography. Clark, 1931, in Faune ichthyol. Atl. N., fiche 35 | Bini, 1967: 143-144.
Eggs, embryonic and young stages. Lo Bianco, 1909: 679 (description of egg-capsule).