Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps


Softnose Skates

Compiler and date details

16 October 2011 - Douglass F. Hoese & Matthew M. Lockett


The Softnose Skates have been recently separated as a distinct family from the Rajidae. McEachran & Dunn (1998) recognised the group as a subfamily of the Rajidae. Subsequently, Ebert & Compagno (2007) recognised the group as a distinct family, which has been followed by Last et al. (2008) and Last & Stevens (2009). Other workers have retained the group as a subfamily (see Orr et al. 2011). The genera were all included in the Rajidae by Hoese et al. (2006) and Nelson (2006). Currently, the family occurs worldwide and contains about 13 genera and 110 species (Last & Stevens 2009), with five genera and 16 species known from Australia. Species are normally found near or on the bottom over the continental shelf in depths of 50 to over 2000 m. Two species of Brochiraja have been recently described by Last & McEachran (2006) from the southern part of the Norfolk Ridge, with one only just south of the Norfolk Island Province (Last & Séret 2012), with both likely to be found within the Province.

Maximum size is around 120 cm.


General References

Ebert, D.A. & Compagno, L.J.V. 2007. Biodiversity and systematics of skates (Chondrichthyes: Rajiformes: Rajoidei). Environmental Biology of Fishes 80(2-3): 111-124

Hoese, D.F., Gates, J.E. & Bray, D.J. 2006. Rajidae. pp. 180-184 in Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp.

Last, P.R., Mallick, S. & Yearsley, G.K. 2008. A review of the Australian skate genus Pavoraja Whitley (Rajiformes: Arhynchobatidae). Zootaxa 1812: 1-45

Last, P.R. & McEachran, J.D. 2006. New softnose skate genus Brochiraja from New Zealand (Rajidae: Arhynchobatinae) with description of four new species. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 40(1): 65-90

Last, P.R. & Séret, B. 2012. Two new softnose skates of the genus Brochiraja (Rajoidei: Arhynchobatidae) from the deepwater slopes and banks of the Norfolk Ridge (South-West Pacific). Zootaxa 3155: 47-64

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

McEachran, J.D. & Dunn, K.A. 1998. Phylogenetic analysis of skates, a morphologically conservative clade of elasmobranchs (Chondrichthyes: Rajidae). Copeia 1998(2): 271-290

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Orr, J.W., Stevenson, D.E., Hoff, G.R., Spies, I. & McEachran, J.D. 2011. Bathyraja panthera, a new species of skate (Rajidae: Arhynchobatinae) from the western Aleutian Islands, and resurrection of the subgenus Arctoraja Ishiyama. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Professional Paper National Marine Fisheries Service 11: 1-50


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
16-Apr-2012 16-Apr-2012 MODIFIED
11-Mar-2010 ADDED