Raja spinacidermis

Author: Barnard, 1923

Raja (Malacoraja) spinacidermis Barnard, 1923

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Malacoraja spinacidermis (Barnard, 1923) (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: snout short, with pronounced tip; disc heart-shaped, broader than long in adults, the outer corners greatly rounded, the front margins undulated in adult males. Upper surface entirely covered with fine dense spinules. Thornlets at eyes and on shoulder only in juveniles, typically no thorns behind shoulder and on tail; dorsal fins confiuent; underside of disc smooth except for prickles on front edges in adults, but tail almost spinulose. Colour: upper surface light greyish-brown, sometimes darker grey in adults; underside white in juveniles, but tail grey, the disc becoming darker with growth almost to match the dark-grey tail in adults (but a few white markings along body). Size: to about 70 cm.

Habitat: benthic in deepwater, usually below 1,000 m, along,continental slopes and probably down to the abyssal plains; very rare. Food: no data. Reproduction: oviparous, but egg-cases unknown.

Distribution: a single record in the area, a juvenile from 680 m on the southern side of the Iceland-Faroes Ridge. Elsewhere, western North Atlantic north of 40° N and off South Africa.

Note: though R. mollis is assumed to be this species, the differences and similarities between both taxa are not yet definitively clear. This uncertainty is due to the fact that only 15 specimens are known (including a single adult male from South Africa).