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Species: Rajella fuliginea, Sooty Skate, Sooty Small Skate

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disc heart shaped, round outer corners
snout short, blunt, rounded, tip stiff
eyes + semicircle of thorns
1 row thorns shoulder to tail base
nape thorns in triangle
top disc & tail : denticles coarse, not dense
top dark grey, bottom black
tail thorn rows: central & side
tail 56-65% TL

Rajella fuliginea Bigelow & Schroeder, 1954

Sooty Skate, Sooty Small Skate

Disc heart shaped, 1.1X wider than long, front edges straight, the outer corners broadly rounded; pectorals fused to disc from head back to insertion of pelvic fins, their skeletal supports end distinctly before tip of snout; snout angular, very blunt, stiff, length before eyes 10% TL; rostral cartilage solid and stiff to tip of snout; tail with moderately narrow base, long, gradually tapering, length 56-65% TL, with narrow side folds on rear 40%, 2 dorsal fins similar in size & shape, confluent, tail fin short, low dorsal lobe; pelvic fins consist of 2 lobes completely separated by a notch, front lobe 90% of length of rear lobe; thorns: a group of small thorns at front of snout ridge, a half ring of 4 around inner edges of eyes, a triangular patch of ~7 thorns on nape & shoulders, a row of 6 along center of back from nape to level of rear insertion of pectorals, then 3-4 irregular rows along front 80% of tail, then 2 thorns on midline before 1st dorsal fin; upper surface of disc (except rear edges of pectorals and front lobes of pelvics) & tail densely & uniformly covered with relatively coarse denticles; lower surface: disc free of denticles, tail with broad bands along edges, a narrow naked strip along center.

Top surface uniform dark grey, darkest on front lobes of pelvics; lower surface dark chocolate to black, darker than top, somewhat paler on pelvics and tail.

Reaches 45 cm.

Lives on soft bottoms

Depth range 731-1280 m.

The Gulf of Mexico to the southern Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathydemersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 45
Depth Range Min
  • 731
Depth Range Max
  • 1280