Raja montagui Fowler, 1910,

Gordon, Cat A., Hood, Ali R. & Ellis, Jim R., 2016, Descriptions and revised key to the eggcases of the skates (Rajiformes: Rajidae) and catsharks (Carcharhiniformes: Scyliorhinidae) of the British Isles, Zootaxa 4150 (3), pp. 255-280: 269

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Raja montagui Fowler, 1910


Raja montagui Fowler, 1910 

Distribution. Spotted ray ( R. montagui  ) is distributed widely in the Northeast Atlantic, ranging from the Shetland Islands to Morocco, including the Algerian and Tunisian coasts of the Mediterranean Sea ( Stehmann & Bürkel, 1984; Serena et al., 2010). It occurs in inshore waters and shallow shelf seas at depths of 8–283 m ( Ellis et al., 2005), although it is found more frequently at depths less than 100 m. Juveniles usually occur closer inshore on sandy sediments. Eggcases have been submitted to the Great Eggcase Hunt from the majority of the British coastline, although there were very few reports from the east coast of Scotland and northeast coast of England.

Material examined. Fifty-two eggcases were measured in total; including specimens from the Great Eggcase Hunt (n = 33), trawl surveys (n = 16) and from public aquaria (n = 3).

Description. The eggcase length of R. montagui  ( Figure 7View FIGURE 7 a) is 56.5 ± 13.7 mm (31.6–75.4 mm), and eggcase width is 34.1 ± 1.6 mm (29.0– 36.7 mm). The capsule has fine longitudinal striations which run the length of the eggcase. There are no keels on the capsule and the margins are usually cleanly fused, with occasional remnants of the attachment fibres present. The anterior apron is broad and straight, but is often broken and frayed in strandline specimens. In contrast, the posterior apron is negligible. The posterior horns are marginally shorter than the anterior horns and end in small hooks.

Remarks. The eggcase of R. montagui  is similar in appearance to that of R. undulata  and there is a degree of overlap of eggcase size. Hence, the eggcases of these two species can often be confused, particularly in areas where they both occur, such as the English Channel. The eggcase of R. montagui  can be almost translucent when held to the light, and it is generally smaller, less robust and of a cleaner appearance than the larger R. undulata  eggcase, which often has attachment fibres. The eggcase lengths and widths recorded in the present study extended the known size range for this species.