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The Monterey Skate (Raja montereyensis) was first described from an immature female specimen taken near Santa Cruz, California. According to Walford (1935), between and in front of the eyes the Monterey Skate has a groove with bony sides, whereas the Starry Skate (R. stellulata) lacks such a groove, the top of the snout being entirely soft and fleshy. The back is various shades of brown, mottled and spotted with dark brown. At the base of each pectoral fin there is a dark spot surrounded with a ring of small dark irregular spots; this spot is followed by a smaller pale or white spot. These skates, which live in moderately deep water from Santa Cruz to La Jolla (California, U.S.A.), reach a length of between 1½ and 2 feet. They reproduce by depositing eggs. According to Ebert (2003), R. montereyensis is now considered a junior synonym of R. stellulata.

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© Sara Eckert and Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Sara Eckert

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