Thorny Skate

Scientific Name: Raja radiata

Description: A fish with a flattened body, white underneath and brown on top with dark spots. It has thorny spines on the top of its body that extend down its slender tail. The mouth and gills are located on the underside. Adults grow to around 102cm long from head to tail.

Distribution: Boreal to Arctic , living offshore on hard or soft bottoms, from depths of 18-1000 meters, and at temperatures of -1.4’C to 14’C.

Diet: The diet of the Thorny Skate depends on its size. Smaller skates eat amphipods, decapods and polychaetes. Larger skates eat mainly fish.

Growth: The rate of growth is not really known, but they are very long-lived. Tagged skates have been recovered 20 years after the tagging. Age at maturity varies.

Reproduction: There is little information on the reproduction in this skate. Egg casings have been recovered year round suggesting that they spawn every month. The egg case size is dependant on the size of the female.

Predation: Thorny skates may be eaten by grey seals and egg cases have been found in the stomachs of halibut and Greenland sharks.

Relation to man: Eaten in Europe as fish and chips.