Raja alba

Author: Lacepede, 1803

Raja (Rostroraja) alba Lacepede, 1803

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Rostroraja alba (Lacep├Ęde, 1803) (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: snout very long and pointed, its tip pronounced; disc broadly rhombic, the outer corners acute, the front margins concave. Upper surface smooth in juveniles, almost spinulose with bare patches on wings in larger specimens. A thorn in front of and behind eye in young, more but smaller thorns with growth; in general, none on nape, shoulder region and back, but about 15 thorns in a median row on tail, rarely reaching to hind part of body, one thorn between dorsal fins; usually a row of strong thorns on either side of lower edge of tail; underside smooth in juveniles except for snout and front margins, more or less prickly in adults (including tail) except for bare areas on outer part of wings. Colour: upper surface reddish-brown (mainly in young) to greyish-blue, with numerous more or less distinct light spots; underside white with dark margins to pectoral and pelvic fins, particularly in young, tail dusky. Size: to about 200 cm TL.

Habitat: benthic from coastal waters to upper slope region between about 40 and 400 m; moderately common, locally marketed in small numbers. Food: all kinds of bottom animals. Reproduction: oviparous; egg-cases large, about 160-200 by 130-150 mm (excluding horns); embryonic development may take about 15 months.

Distribution: Atlantic coasts northward to south-western Ireland, also western parts of Mediterranean (to Tunisia and western Greece). Elsewhere, southward to South Africa, also south-western part of Indian Ocean.

Complementary iconography. Clark, 1931, in: Faune ichthyol. Atl. N., fiche 53 Bini, 1967: 167-168.
Eggs, embryonic and young stages. Holt, 1899: 181-183 (egg-capsule) | Clark, 1922: 632-635, fig. 20 (egg-capsule).