Raja fyllae

Author: Lutken, 1888

Raja (Rajella) fyllae Lutken, 1888

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Rajella fyllae (Lütken, 1887) (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: snout very short; disc roundish with greatly rounded outer corners, tail conspicuously longer than body. Upper surface entirely rough with prickles on pectoral fins and many thornlets concentrated on head and on hind part of disc, but bare patches on pectorals in adult males. A complete row of 5-9 thorns around inner margin of eye in larger specimens, and a large triangle of thorns on nape/shoulder region; also, several irregular parallel rows of prominent thorns from shoulder to dorsal fins (as well as in young, which also have a median row along body and tail and separate orbital, nape and shoulder thorns); underside smooth. Colour: upper surface ash-grey to dark brown, clouded darker or paler, tail often with dark crossbars, young with more or less distinct dark blotches; dorsal pattern rather variable; underside predominantly white, but usually with irregular greyish to brown spots on tail, on pelvic fins and along margins of disc. Size: to about 55 cm TL.

Habitat: benthic in about 170-2,050 m, restricted to waters of 1-7°C; common between 300 and 800 m. Food: all kinds of bottom animals with a preference for invertebrates. Reproduction: oviparous; egg-cases small, about 42 by 25 mm (excluding horns).

Distribution: Atlantic coasts southward from Spitsbergen to southern Norway, and westward to Shetlands, Faroes, Iceland and southern Greenland; also western coasts of British Isles southward to Bay of Biscay (southern limit at about 45° N, but single questionable records south to Morocco). Elsewhere, western North Atlantic south to Nova Scotia.

Complementary iconography. Clark, 1931, in Faune ichthyol. Atl. N., fiche 49 Muus and Dahlström, 1965: 53.
Eggs, embryonic and young stages. Clark, 1922: 624-627, fig. 16-17 (young).