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Species: Rajella purpuriventralis, Purplebelly Skate, Purplebottom Small Skate

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disc heart shaped, outer corners rounded
snout medium length, angular, tip stiff
eyes + semicircle of thorns
1 row thorns shoulder to tail
nape thorns in triangle
top disc & tail : denticles dense, fine
top & bottom black
tail thorn rows: central & side
tail 53% TL

Rajella purpuriventralis Bigelow & Schroeder, 1962

Purplebelly Skate, Purplebottom Small Skate

Disc heart shaped, 1.08X wider than long, front edges relatively 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 relatively long, pointed, stiff, length before eyes 15% TL; rostral cartilage solid and stiff to tip of snout; tail with moderately narrow base, long, gradually tapering, length 53% TL, with narrow side folds from just in front of 1st dorsal fin to end of tail, 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 80% of length of rear lobe; thorns: 1 before eye & 2 behind, a row of 40-43 (1st 3 largest) along center of back from nape to 1st dorsal fin, a triangle of 3 on each shoulder, and an irregular row along front 2/3 of each side of tail; upper surface of disc & tail, including dorsal fins and tops of eyes uniformly & densely covered with small denticles; lower surface: free of denticles, except tail with denticles along edges in central part, and along all of rear part of tail.

Top surface purplish black; lower surface purplish black, paler around mouth and rear of nasal curtain.

Reaches 51 cm.

Lives on soft bottoms

Depth range 730-2577 m.

The Gulf of Mexico to Suriname

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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
  • 51
Depth Range Min
  • 730
Depth Range Max
  • 2577