The thornback ray (Raja clavata), also known as the thornback skate, is a species in the Rajidae family. Found in coastal waters of Europe and the eastern Atlantic coast, it is said to have been observed as far south as Namibia and South Africa. They love open, shallow water and are one of the more commonly seen animals by divers in this range. They have a flattened body with broad pectoral fins that lends to a kite-shaped body and a thorny tail. Not only do they have a thorny tail but so is their back covered in spines, and the underside of females.
The thornback ray is usually on muddy, sandy or gravely seabeds at about 10–60 metres (33–197 ft) deep. The juvenile of these animals feed on small crustaceans, such as shrimps; meanwhile, the adults feed on crabs, shrimps and small fish. The adults can grow up to a metre (3.3 ft) in length, though average size is less than 85 centimetres (33 in). These #flatsharks can weigh 4.5 to 8.75 lb (2 to 4 kg) and are a light brown to grey colour. Some have blotches of numerous colours, from dark to light. Their underbellies are a creamy pale with a grey margin.
An oviparous animal, they deposit their eggs on the same shallow sand, mud, gravelly bottoms they usually like. Up to 170 eggs can be laid by a female in a year, but on average they lay about 70. The IUCN has assessed them are Near Threatened (NT).
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