Kite-shaped with numerous spikes, it’s an easy species to catch
the thornback ray, also occasionally called a thornback skate, is one of the commonest members of the Rajidae family. It is found throughout the coastal waters of Europe, as well as the Atlantic coast of Africa, and possibly as far south as the shores of Namibia.
The body is kite-shaped with a long, thorny tail. Its back is covered in numerous thorny spines, as is the underside in older females. In sexually mature fish, some of the spines are thickened with button-like bases, which are known as bucklers. These are particularly well developed on the tails and backs of sexually mature females.
Colour varies widely depending on location, but typically ranges from light brown to grey, with darker blotches and numerous small darker spots and yellow patches.
The diet of the thornback ray, which lives on mud, sand and gravel seabeds, consists of small crustaceans, bottom-living shrimps, crabs and small fish.