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Hardnose Skates, Skates, Softnose Skates

Compiler and date details

17 April 2018 - Douglass F. Hoese, Jennifer E. Gates & Dianne J. Bray

23 April 2011 - Douglass F. Hoese, Jennifer E. Gates & Dianne J. Bray


Rajids are found worldwide in tropical and temperate regions. Nelson (2006) included the families here separated as Arhynchobatidae and Anacanthobatidae within the Rajidae. Nelson et al. (2016) included all three in the family Rajidae, with the Anacanthobatinae, as recognised here, included within the Rajinae and a separate Arhynchobatinae, following the work of McEachran & Aschliman (2004). The family comprises 17 genera and about 154 species, with 25 species in eight genera from Australia (Last & Stevens 2009, Last et al. 2016) and two additional species from external territories. However, authors differ in placement of genera. Recent changes to the nomenclature have resulted in the genus Raja no longer being used for Australian species (McEachran & Dunn 1998; Compagno 1999). A number of genera previously included in the family have been placed in the families Arhynchobatidae and Anacanthobatidae. Recent work has also resulted in movement of some species to different genera (Last et al. 2016).

Many rajids have been collected from trawls on the continental shelf and slope, but some are found in coastal waters. They are oviparous, producing horny egg capsules, and range in size from about 0.5 to 2 m in length. They feed largely on benthic invertebrates.

The name for the family has often been spelled Raiidae and the genus Raja as Raia. The letter j did not exist in classical Latin and the i was used as a consonant and a vowel. The j was introduced into English before Linnaeus for the consonant, but apparently did not come into widespread usage until much later resulting in the name Raia often being used, but that spelling is now generally considered a misspelling.

This family is under study by several workers: M. Stehmann, University of Hamburg; J. McEachran, Texas A. & M. University; and P.R. Last, CSIRO Division of Marine & Atmospheric Research, Hobart. The nomenclature follows Last et al. (2006). Previous classifications include Last & Stevens (1994), McEachran & Dunn (1998) and Last & Compagno (1999). Information on relationships is discussed by Bigelow & Schroeder (1953, 1962), Ishiyama (1967), Compagno (1973), Garrick & Paul (1974). and McEachran & Aschliman (2004). Australian species have been treated by Whitley (1939, 1940), Last & Stevens (1994; 2009), McEachran & Dunn (1998) and Last & Compagno (1999).


General References

Bigelow, H.B. & Schroeder, W.C. 1953. Sawfishes, guitarfishes, skates and rays. pp. 1-514, figs 1-117 in Parr, A.E. (ed.). Fishes of the western North Atlantic. Memoir. Sears Foundation of Marine Research 1(2): 1-599

Bigelow, H.B. & Schroeder, W.C. 1962. New and little known batoid fishes from the western Atlantic. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard 128(4): 159-244 figs 1-23 pl. 1

Compagno, L.J.V. 1973. Interrelationships of living elasmobranchs. Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology 53(suppl. 1): 15-61 pls 1-2

Compagno, L.J.V. 1999. Checklist of living elasmobranchs. In, Hamlett, W.C. (ed.). Sharks, Skates, and Rays: the Biology of Elasmobranch Fishes. Baltimore & London : John Hopkins University Press 515 pp.

Garrick, J.A.F. & Paul, L.J. 1974. The taxonomy of New Zealand skates (suborder Rajoidea), with descriptions of three new species. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 4(3): 345-377 figs 1-10

Ishiyama, R. 1967. Fauna Japonica. Rajidae (Pisces). Tokyo : Academic Press of Japan 162 pp. 23 figs 32 pls.

Last, P.R., Séret, B., Stehmann, M.F.W. & Weigmann, S. 2016. 19. Skates. Family Rajidae. pp. 204-363 in Last, P.R., White, W.T., Carvalho, M.R. de, Séret, B., Stehmann, M.F.W. & Naylor, G.J.P. (eds.). Rays of the World. Clayton South, Victoria : CSIRO Publishing 790 pp.

Last, P.R. & Compagno, L.J.V. 1999. Families Rajidae, Arhynchobatidae, Anacanthobatidae. pp. 1452-1466 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls.

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

McEachran, J.D. & Aschliman, N. 2004. Phylogeny of Batoidea. pp. 79-113 in Carrier, J.C., Musick, J.A. & Heithaus, M.R. (eds). Biology of Sharks and their Relatives. Boca Raton, Florida : CRC Press 596 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.

Nelson, J.S., Grande, T.C. & Wilson, M.V.H. 2016. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons 5, 752 pp.

Whitley, G.P. 1939. Taxonomic notes on sharks and rays. The Australian Zoologist 9(3): 227-262 figs 1-18 pls 20-22

Whitley, G.P. 1940. The Fishes of Australia. Part 1. The sharks, rays, devil-fish, and other primitive fishes of Australia and New Zealand. Sydney : Roy. Zool. Soc. N.S.W. 280 pp. 303 figs.


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)
31-Jul-2018 RAJIDAE 17-Apr-2018 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese Dr Matthew Lockett
16-Apr-2012 16-Apr-2012 MODIFIED
12-Mar-2010 MODIFIED