Raja circularis

Author: Couch, 1838

Raja (Leucoraja) circularis Couch, 1838

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Leucoraja circularis (Couch, 1838) (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: snout short, its tip somewhat pronounced. Upper surface entirely spinulose, but sometimes bare areas in hind half in adults. About 8 thorns generally in a complete row around inner margin of eye and a triangle of thorns on nape/shoulder region; in juveniles, a median row of thorns along body and tail, and generally a parallel row on either side, from shoulder to first dorsal fin (reduced on body in adults), and another outer row on front half of tail; dorsal fins almost confluent, no thorns between; underside with prickles only on snout, between gill-slits, along abdomen, and at anterior margins of disc. Colour: upper surface reddish-brown to dark brown, with 4-6 creamy spots on each wing and pelvic fin, arranged symmetrically; underside white. Size: to about 120 cm, usually about 70 cm TL.

Habitat: benthic in offshore shelf waters and on upper slope in about 70-275 m, mainly around 100 m line; relatively common, of local fishery importance in the south. Food: all kinds of bottom animals. Reproduction: oviparous; no definite egg-laying period; egg-cases about 90 by 50 mm (excluding horns).

Distribution: Atlantic coasts from northern Morocco northward to Scotland, southern Norway and northern part of North Sea, also Skagerrak; western part of Mediterranean. Elsewhere, some questionable records south to Senegal (probably misidentifications of R. Ieucostricta).

Complementary iconography. Clark, 1930, in Faune ichthyol. Atl. N., fiche 47 | Bini, 1967: 161-162.
Eggs, embryonic and young stages. Williamson, 1913: fig. 3 (egg-capsule, cited as R. Sullonica) I Clark, 1930, in Faune Ichthyol. Atl. N. (egg-capsule), fiche 47.