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Genus: Rajella, Smallskates, Skate-small


All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

disc rhomboidal
snout tip stiff
eye thorns in half rings
disc: top uniform color; bottom often darker
thorns: central row shoulder to tail, often with side rows
tail =/> disc

RAJELLA

SMALLSKATES

Disc ~rhomboidal to (rarely) ~rounded,  front edges somewhat convex / slightly concave / undulated; the outer corners angular to rounded; pectorals fused to disc from head back to insertion of pelvic fins, their skeletal supports end distinctly before tip of snout; snout variable, elongate and pointed to bluntly angular, stiff;  rostral cartilage solid and stiff to tip of snout; distance between nostrils usually > 70% of distance from 1 nostril to snout tip; tail length equal to or slightly longer than disc length; pelvic fins consist of 2 lobes completely separated by a notch; disc thorns in central row on the back and tail that persists, and is flanked  by parallel rows of large thorns that become dominant in large fish; thorns around eyes usually in continuous ½ rings (except in small juveniles); thorns on nape and shoulder usually form triangles; upper surface of disc completely or partially covered with coarse denticles, lower surface usually smooth; mainly deepwater species; color usually uniform dark or light.

A genus with 17 species; mainly Atlantic, but also southern Pacific and Indian Ocean; 3 species in our area.