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Thorny Skate (RAJA (AMBLYRAJA) RADIATA DONOVAN 1808)

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SKATE, THORNY / RAJA (AMBLYRAJA) RADIATA DONOVAN 1808
15 30 1.16 2.9 Halleback Sweden 010189 I. Carlsson
AT AT 1.16 2.9 Halleback Sweden 010189 I. Carlsson
SH SH 1.16 2.9 Halleback Sweden 010189 I. Carlsson

The thorny skate (Raja (Amblyraja) Radiata Donovan 1808)

is distinguished from other skates found in the north Atlantic Ocean by the large thorns that run along the midline of the back from the nape to the first dorsal fin. Another important feature is that the tail has a maximum of 10 large thorns. Two to three large thorns are also found on the shoulders. The snout of the thorny skate is blunt at the tip and the margins bulge a little just behind the eyes. The pectoral fins are not as broadly rounded along the outer corners when compared to the little skate or the big skate. The dorsal fins can sometimes be joined at the base while other times they are separated by a short space. Sexually mature males have conspicuously strong claspers that reach about halfway down the tail. While young, the length of the tail is 1.1-1.2 times as large as the length of the body from cloaca to snout. The tail length decreases to about 0.9-1.1 times for half-grown and adult thorny skates.

The thorny skate can be found in the eastern and western Atlantic Ocean. In the eastern Atlantic, they range from Svalbarg, Greenland, and Iceland to the English Channel, including the northern part of the North Sea and the western part of the Baltic Sea. In the western Atlantic, they range from Greenland and Canada (Hudson Bay) to South Carolina, USA.

thorny skate (Raja (Amblyraja) Radiata Donovan 1808)

The thorny skate is found in marine and brackish waters. This species is a bottom-dweller that is typically found on a variety of substrates including sand, broken shells, gravel, pebbles, and soft mud. These skates inhabit depths ranging from 65.6 to 3,280.8 ft (20-1,000 m). They are cool water fish that live in waters ranging from 30°F to 57°F (-1.3°C to 14°C), yet they seem to prefer 36°F to 41°F (2°C to 5°C).

The thorny skates are oviparous (egg layers). The female will often deposit eggs in sandy or muddy flats. The gestation period is unknown for this species. When the young hatch from the capsules, they are fully formed and are similar in appearance to adult specimens.

Thorny skates can tolerate salinity's ranging from 31.2 to 35.3 parts per thousand (ppt), but preferred 32-34.5 ppt. There seems to be evidence that thorny skates can make small seasonal migrations but they generally remain in a defined home range.

The thorny skate feeds on crustaceans, bony fish, and polychaete worms. Some representatives of these include crabs, shrimp, anemones, eel, finfish, cod, haddock, redfish, and herring


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