Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

  Common names: skate (English), raya (Espanol)
 
Raja equatorialis Jordan & Bollman, 1890

Equatorial skate,     Tropical skate

Rhomboidal disc of flattened, pointed head, body and pectoral fins; large spiracles behind eyes; snout rigid; front edges of disc straight to convex; pelvic fins with 2 distinct lobes, rear one large; 2 small dorsal fins at rear of tail, no tail fin; spines on disc small, thin, not grooved, with oval bases; 1 row of thorns from nape back along disc and onto tail to first dorsal fin, another row on each side along tail; row of thorns inside of and before eye; patch of 4-5 short rows of thorns on disc opposite eye; spines on rear borders only of ventral side.

Light brown above, pale below; back with obscure brown reticulations, edges of disc paler; faint dark blotches at front and rear base of pectoral; dark marks between and below eyes.

Size: 88 cm.

Habitat: soft bottoms.

Depth: 20-200 m.

Southern Baja and the Gulf of California to Peru and Cocos.   
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Biology

Oviparous (Ref. 50449). Eggs have horn-like projections on the shell (Ref. 205).
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Distribution

Range Description

Eastern central and southeast Pacific: Gulf of California, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Peru (McEachran and Notarbartolo-di-Sciara 1995, Robertson and Allen 2002).
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Zoogeography

See Map (including site records) of Distribution in the Tropical Eastern Pacific 
 
Global Endemism: All species, East Pacific endemic, Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic

Regional Endemism: All species, TEP endemic, Continent + Island (s), Continent, Island (s)

Residency: Resident

Climate Zone: Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap), Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos), Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
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Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California and Costa Rica to Peru, including the Galapagos Islands.
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Eastern Pacific.
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Depth

Depth Range (m): 20 (S) - 200 (S)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Size

Length max (cm): 88.0 (S)
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Size

Maximum size: 500 mm TL
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Max. size

50.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 9261))
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Type Information

Type for Raja equatorialis
Catalog Number: USNM 41132
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Year Collected: 1888
Locality: Ecuador to Panama (off coast of Colombia in area before Panama was created)., Panama, Pacific
Depth (m): 60 to 60
Vessel: Albatross
  • Type:
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Occurs on the continental shelf at depths of 20?200 m (Robertson and Allen 2002). Reaches a maximum total length (TL) of 88 cm TL (Robertson and Allen 2002). Like other skates, this species is oviparous but little else is known of its life-history parameters.

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

demersal; marine; depth range 60 - ? m (Ref. 58018)
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Depth range based on 15 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 2 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 3 - 91
  Temperature range (°C): 16.783 - 22.948
  Nitrate (umol/L): 2.687 - 18.515
  Salinity (PPS): 34.890 - 35.311
  Oxygen (ml/l): 2.146 - 4.912
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.885 - 1.498
  Silicate (umol/l): 7.399 - 12.075

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 3 - 91

Temperature range (°C): 16.783 - 22.948

Nitrate (umol/L): 2.687 - 18.515

Salinity (PPS): 34.890 - 35.311

Oxygen (ml/l): 2.146 - 4.912

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.885 - 1.498

Silicate (umol/l): 7.399 - 12.075
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Salinity: Marine, Marine Only

Inshore/Offshore: Inshore, Inshore Only

Water Column Position: Bottom, Bottom only

Habitat: Soft bottom (mud, sand,gravel, beach, estuary & mangrove), Soft bottom only, Mud, Sand & gravel

FishBase Habitat: Demersal
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Trophic Strategy

Feeding

Feeding Group: Carnivore

Diet: mobile benthic worms, mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs), mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves, octopus/squid/cuttlefish, bony fishes
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Oviparous, paired eggs are laid. Embryos feed solely on yolk (Ref. 50449).
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Reproduction

Egg Type: Benthic, No pelagic larva, No pelagic phase
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Kyne, P.M. & Valenti, S.V.

Reviewer/s
Kulka, D.W., Sulikowski, J. & Gibson, C. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
The Equatorial Skate (Raja equatorialis) is a medium-sized (to 88 cm TL) eastern Pacific skate found from the Gulf of California south to Tumbes, Peru. Occurs on the continental shelf at depths of 20?200 m. It is presumably taken as bycatch by demersal fisheries operating on the continental shelf. Shrimp trawl fisheries are particularly intense in inshore areas of its range, but no data are currently available on catches. This is a poorly known species, whose generic placement remains unresolved, and it cannot currently be assessed beyond Data Deficient due to insufficient information. Research is needed on this species? life-history parameters and efforts should be made to quantify bycatch levels.
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IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed

CITES: Not listed
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Population

Population
No information is currently available.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Presumably taken as bycatch of demersal fisheries operating throughout much of its geographic range, but no information on catches of this species is currently available. Shrimp trawl and ground fish fisheries are generally intense in many inshore areas of its range in the Eastern Pacific. For example, the Mexican industrial fleet includes 2,407 shrimp trawlers, 70% of which operate on the Pacific coast, and almost all of these are concentrated in the Gulf of California (FAO 2007). The shrimp trawl fishery off Colombia operates from the shelf to depths of at least 300 m and may take this species, although Puentes et al. (2007) did not record it in a study of the bycatch of this fishery.
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Data deficient (DD)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
None in place.

Recommended: Research is required on this species? life history parameters, abundance and population trends. Efforts should be made to quantify and monitor catch levels.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: of no interest
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