Raja africana

Author: Capape, 1977

Raja (Raja) africana Capape, 1977

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Urogymnus asperrimus (Bloch and Schneider, 1801) (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: snout short, its tip pronounced; front margins of disc gently undulated, outer corners abruptly rounded. Tail depressed, dorsal fins separate. Upper surface smooth except for prickles on rostrum, in a patch in front of each eye and in a narrow band on median third of front margins of disc; underside smooth. Orbital thorns separate; a thorn on each shoulder and a regular median row of up to 45 thorns from nape to first dorsal fin, 1-2 thorns between dorsal fins; a parallel and lateral additional row of small thorns on tail. Widely spaced low thornlets with star-like bases (2-3 short rows) at front edge of disc (malar region), also in females and juveniles. Colour: upper surface plain brown with a vague eye-spot (dark ring with brown centre) on inner part of pectoral fins about half-way between shoulder and pelvic girdle. Size: to about 70 cm TL.

Habitat: benthic at 50-400 m; only 5 specimens known. Food: crustaceans and bony fishes. Reproduction: oviparous, egg-cases unknown.

Distribution: south-western Mediterranean (Tunesia); specimens not available, assumed to be this species. Elsewhere, coast of Mauritania (holotype only).